“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “I was wrong.”
Sydney J. Harris.
This is a quote that changed my point of view on lots of things. Being taken from cheap paper-back edition, printed on small torn page and underlined by the girl I hated from early childhood, it changed my entire life.
Being a child, I admired a great number of people, and once decided to make a list of them. Suddenly I realized the problem I had – there were too many of them and I couldn’t choose one to follow. The warriors in films were so strong and brave, scientists in papers so clever and inventive, that I felt really lost. I didn’t know which way to go to become great.
As I grew, I tried many things, but still couldn’t find myself. I chose pragmatic ways and ignored everything that could interfere with my plans. I flattered teachers and whoever potentially beneficial for my future life. It didn’t occur to me, that I was just living on my own, having no true friends or anyone whom I could trust. I reached the authority, but all people around never needed me but my influence and popularity.
But once someone knocked at my door. It was a girl living next door. She gave me a letter and ran away. The matter is we’d always been enemies, even our parents were in strong confrontation. But ignoring antipathy and prejudice, I opened the letter. There was a page torn from a book. With the words that changed my world.
The phrase stuck in my head. It took a lot of time for me to understand its meaning. And by the way to understand what the girl had done. She made the first step. She was courageous enough to come to me not with sword, but with aid. She happened to be the first to return love for hate. And suddenly I realized that I was to go further. I thought it over and over and learnt that quote for ever. I understood that I had got tired of my artificial life and values. I came to her to say sorry for all my previous behavior, to admit that I was wrong. Harris is right, saying it is one of the hardest things. We all have dignity and it often doesn’t let us look worse than we accept ourselves. So many people quarrel, depart only because they are not strong enough to admit their mistakes. We all try to be ideal, but we never can, we cannot do everything correct. But to admit your mistakes – firstly to yourself – is much more important. It is sometimes enormously helpful to say sorry, it can really break the wall of misunderstanding.
It takes a lot of efforts to say that, but can we ever become better without overcoming ourselves?
People often say that life is given once and therefore we should try as much as we can. We choose different ways to live on the edge, we try as hard as possible to prove we are living for something essential, we try to become heroes or at least to do something extra ordinal. That’s all worth of respect, but why that makes us forget about things inside us? The words of Harris made me understand that money, glory, authority can never make me happy. That’s why I decided to change them for more real things, such as true friendship, compassion, kindness and so on. Now I know that admitting your own mistakes and appreciating people from inside, not outside, can really make you develop. Becoming a true human – isn’t this task difficult enough to feel your life essential?
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