National Commentator, Author, TV/Radio Host Tavis Smiley says, “You can’t lead the people, if you can’t first serve the people. And, you can’t serve the people, if you don’t first love the people.” I want to add, you can’t love the people if you don’t first love yourself.
You can’t give love to another person until you first know how to love yourself. When you look in the mirror, do you love the person, the face you see starring back at you? Do you love how you were made and who you are and where you’re from and what you look like?
Many of us first learn what love is and how love feels and how to show love from our parents. Our parents tell us they love us as a child and prayerfully will continue to tell us when we grow up. Before I get off the phone with my parents we always say, “I love you.” And, that makes me smile.
When you hear your parents or spouse or friend say, “I love you” how does that make you feel, good right? But, don’t you believe or feel it more when they give you a hug or kiss or a smile? Their actions along with their words have more of an impact on you.
Dr. King said, “Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts.”
And, in the bible it is written that you must love your neighbor as you love yourself.
The love you have in your heart for yourself, for your parents, for your family is the place where your voice begins to take shape. Because of how love makes you feel, you are excited to move forward in extending that great feeling towards others. So, loving yourself and operating in love is the first step in finding your voice and in turn finding your purpose.
Dr. King puts it likes this, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
He also said, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
What will happen if you don’t help your family? What will happen if you don’t help your friends? What will happen if you don’t help your neighborhood? What will happen if you don’t help your community? What will happen if you don’t help your city? What will happen if you don’t help your state? What will happen if you don’t help your country? What will happen if you don’t help your world?
Dr. King said, “Find a voice in a whisper.” What’s whispering to you? When you identify what’s whispering to you, you have finally found your voice and ready to walk out your purpose.
Understand no action is a small one. Every good thing done speaks volumes and creates an impact larger than you can imagine.
Your voice alone will change some things. However, your voice accompanied by your actions can change the world.
Dr. King’s life is an awesome example of the impact that is made from speaking loudly through our actions.
He said, “Not everybody could be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service.” He also said that, “Anytime is the right time to do right.”
Walk in faith. Live in love.
*This is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Monica Wood, keynote speaker of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Unity Breakfast – January 17, 2011.