I was fortunate enough to be raised with a mindset of mindfulness. That being said, the saying “leave things better than you found them” will forever be engraved in my mind. As each day passes I think more deeply about what this phrase means, and why my parents would always remind me of this one in particular. Of course, they raised me to pick up after myself so I wouldn’t grow up as a slob. But, I'm finding that there are more reasons as to why my parents would constantly remind me to leave things better than I found them. -
Honestly it's just a simple phrase, but it constantly burns in my mind in any given situation to which it applies. I see trash on the ground, hear my dad’s voice in my mind “leave things better than you found them.” So, I pick it up and throw it away. Books out-of-place, chairs not pushed in, shopping carts left to block parking spaces.
You don’t even have to go out of your way to leave things better than you found them. The whole point is that you crossed paths with something wrong, and you decided to do something about it instead of leaving it for the next person.
I try not to think of doing this type of act as the “burden of taking on someone else’s mess." More-so I think of it as an opportunity to help when noticing that something is wrong. That being said, leaving things better than you found them doesn’t necessarily just apply to a physical fix.
Sometimes, it’s the people themselves who need to be left better than you found them. Whether that be letting the person who was late to class know what they had missed or providing a listening ear to an upset friend. Even clearing the heavy atmosphere in your household before you go to bed (which is another rule of ours and i’m sure many others: don’t ever go to bed angry at yourself, at an unresolved situation or at another person).
I think in all situations, it’s necessary to be aware of the off-things. Not so you can fix everything, but so you can leave things better than you found them.
Think of others and how you can help another person by doing things that take absolutely no time at all out of your day. You don’t have to be recognized for your random acts of kindness, but you always walk away knowing you did the right thing and you helped someone else out.
I thought I would pass along this thought to you, because it's a valuable lesson my parents shared with me.
I hope that by sharing this important life lesson, I have planted a seed in your life. I hope that by doing this, I have left something better than it was before.
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