Sometimes a name brings forth strong thoughts and feelings.  Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., or more recently Malala Yousafzai, these people have all left a very strong impact on each of us. The world is not the same as a result of the actions they took and the lessons they taught us. Another such name is Mother Teresa whose name is associated with kindness, care, and love. Sainted for her work with the poorest people of Calcutta, India, Mother Teresa’s whole life was spent in the service of others. 

Mother Teresa’s life of servant leadership started at a young age in her Catholic home through the example set by her mother, Drana Bojaxhiu, who instilled in her daughter a deep commitment to charity. Although their family was not wealthy, her mom extended an open invitation to the city’s poorest to dine with their family. She told Mother Teresa “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.” She taught her daughter that although only some are your relations, they are all people. This notion of devotion turned into a life spent caring for the sick and poor leading her to establish a hospice, centres for the blind, aged and disabled, and a leper colony. 

Reading this story about Mother Teresa and her mother, reminded me of my mom. Growing up we always had “extra” people at our dining room table for special occasions, and often for no reason at all. My mom taught me that it was important that everyone knew they mattered, especially at the holidays. She always wanted people to feel like they had a family. From her I learned how every person had something to contribute, and to see the best in people. Her lessons have made a difference in every area of my life. 

Many people around the world look up to Mother Teresa, and admire her for the way she lived her life and the difference she made for so many. Here are 5 ways you can live a full and fulfilling life like Mother Teresa. 

  • Be an advocate for those who are without a voice. 

Mother Teresa’s message was clear and simple: “The poor must know that we love them.” You can find ways to help people who have less than you even if they aren’t the poorest of the poor. 

  • Be determined, yet don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Even though Mother Teresa had no income of her own, she also had no problem asking for help to be able to support the poor. She even had to beg for food and supplies to support the poor, and more than 4000 of her Sisters that ran orphanages, Aids Hospices, and charity centres around the world. Is there anyone you can ask for help so you can help others?

  • Pray.

Mother Teresa was a woman of faith. She sometimes struggled with the suffering she saw, and she would often pray to God to help her answer her questions. It’s important to have people to talk to, when you find things challenging.  Who can you talk to when you are feeling overwhelmed?

  • Live humbly. 

Despite being a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and literally family the world over, Mother Teresa lived her life very simply. When she received her Nobel Peace Prize, she didn’t let her fame go to her head, she said she didn’t feel worthy of the honour. She lived a simple life and saw herself as a tool of God’s work.

  • Smile. 

Mother Teresa reminds us that sharing a real smile with others is how you share a part of yourself with others. She always encouraged us to make time for each other, and enjoy each other. Who makes you smile? Who do you enjoy spending time with?

What important lessons have people like Mother Teresa taught you about how to treat people? How have those lessons helped to shape your life? Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” What kind words or acts will you send out into the world like ripples in a pond?