Tolstoy and Beggar

One day as Leo Tolstoy walked down the street, he passed a beggar. Reaching into his pocket to give the beggar money, he found that his pocket was empty.

Looking at the poor man, Tolstoy said, “I’m sorry, my brother, I have nothing to give.” To his surprise, the beggar brightened. He said, “You gave me more than I asked for . . . you called me brother.”

People had earlier given money to beggar many times, but no one gave him what he got from Tolstoy that day. He called him Brother. He gave him identity; he added value to his being. He saw him as a specific person and not any random human existence.

Everyone loves being valued. Psychology teaches us that being self sufficient and having faith in oneself should be sufficient for our satisfaction. We need not depend on other’s opinion. However, easier said than done, it is not easy. Going mad at how people treat you and wasting your energy is not a good advice. But, for society to heal and grow, it is important that kindness and love be shown. Giving value to someone is a form of kindness. It nurtures a soul to the core.

When we talk about workplaces, homes or schools may be; the culture of respecting each other’s role and asserting the value everyone adds; makes great differences to the groups. It is a form of respect to a person’s existence. This kind of behaviour nurtures enthusiasm and people are willing to take responsibilities.

You need not be a leader or head of a group to do this. You can be a motivator to anyone around you. To your spouse, your child or your colleague. Just try saying, “Hey kiddo, you know by keeping your stationary arranged on your study table you have done such a help to mummy. I appreciate your contribution.”  The brightness in his eyes will tell you the affect.

You can only appreciate someone’s contribution, if you are observant enough. In case you are self-focused or may be only task focused, it leaves no room for you to take a note of people around you. It makes the whole environment mechanic. After sometime people start doubting their contribution and value. Few words of genuine recognition can add fuel to their oozing energy banks.

The act of recognising everyone’s contribution and respecting their roles is basic act of humanity. It costs nothing; no monetary contribution or authority. It is bound by no boundaries of status and position. It just needs a heart holding compassion and empathy.

Try doing it with people around you, in your home, in your neighborhood, workplace, everywhere. Just let people know how their work adds value to your life.

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