I’m sure you’ve heard of something called The Butterfly Effect.
In a nutshell, it means that one seemingly small and insignificant act can create large effects.
It’s usually said this is something that happens in a localized environment, and this may be true. But because I feel we’re all connected to one another in some way we’ll probably never understand with our limited physical minds, it lends merit to the idea that everything we do matters.
The truth is, we never know how one small act will affect another – even if it isn’t directed toward them. So it wouldn’t hurt to keep an open mind regarding what it is we put out there in the world.
However, this has just as much to do with our seemingly insignificant, unconscious, and unintentional acts as it does with the things we’re fully aware of.
Don’t believe me? I’ll share an example of the butterfly effect at work in my own life.
The Butterfly Effect – Why Everything We Do Matters
I’ve written several articles about how I’ve changed my eating habits.
I’ve shared all of this in several of my articles on this blog and on the web. I talked about what it took for me to change my life, and I’ve often referred to a particular salad when I’d discuss the type of person you’d need to become in order to develop and maintain healthy eating habits.
That salad was “the jolly green salad.”
But I’m not sure I’ve ever discussed the story behind it.
It’s the butterfly effect at work, so I have to elaborate here. Keep my story in mind the next time you take action. You never know whose life you might change.
The Jolly Green Salad
20 years ago, I worked in a salon (one of many). I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m a licensed Cosmetologist. I still maintain my status.
Anyway, one day, I went around and asked everyone what they wanted for lunch. I was fat and getting fatter, so I was happy we all decided to go with the local health food restaurant for the day.
My choice was a chicken caesar salad. To me, that was the healthy option ’cause, you know – lettuce.
One of my co-workers, however, chose the jolly green salad. I don’t think it had any meat or anything in it. Just vegetables and maybe some nuts or seeds with a light, vinegar based dressing.
She appeared happy with her choice. As though she really looked forward to eating that salad.
I remember thinking:
“I wish that would be something I would choose with such enthusiasm. She clearly prefers this type of thing without needing to be on a diet (she already was slim and active). That would have to be the case for me in order to stop dieting so much.”
That epiphany, which came out of an innocent and otherwise meaningless encounter, helped to change my life.
I didn’t take action immediately because I somehow knew, given this observation, that what I would need to do required an internal transformation – rather than just a behavioral change.
But, none-the-less, it stuck with me.
The jolly green salad.
I would have to become someone who would naturally choose things like a jolly green salad if I were to free myself from this hell that my life had become because of my destructive relationship with food.
There’s no need to ramble on about how I managed to implement this into my life because I’ve already done so. I had also written a post sharing some of my salad ideas – long after this became my new reality, which was inspired by another one of my former co-workers.
And she, like the one I’m talking about today, probably had no idea how she impacted my life with regard to my eating habits.
But I needed to tell you how all of this began because as you can clearly see, it’s The Butterfly Effect – working its magic.
What Does This Mean For You?
The message of The Butterfly Effect is that everything we do matters.
We affect one another with every thought, belief, and action we encompass.
It’s usually the small things we do – the ones we pay little, if any attention to that can make the biggest impact. In my case, my former co-worker had no idea she was about to alter the course of my life. In fact, until the other day, we had lost touch. Prior to re-establishing contact, I never had a chance to let her know the role she played in my life.
As it turned out, I played a role in hers as well. I took action on something 20 years ago that helped her alter the course of her life.
Who knew? I sure didn’t.
It was a pleasant surprise for both of us to have this conversation filled with such positive revelations.
And since I feel synchronicity is a natural, yet almost magical component of the human experience, I don’t think it’s any accident that life presented an opportunity to relay this info to one another.
To top it all off, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week, so this entire thing provided me with a damn good topic to cover.
The Butterfly Effect
You never know who’s watching, listening to and observing you.
You may never understand how you’ve impacted someone’s life – and how this created a ripple effect across the seas.
They say The Butterfly Effect is usually a localized phenomenon. But since the effect it had on my life transformed the direction of my career in several ways (this blog, nor my writing or wellness coaching would exist otherwise), some of you reading these words, which are created because of this change, do, in fact, live across the seas.
The same idea can be said regarding some of the negative things we do as well. I remember things like this when I’m in traffic, waiting impatiently in line somewhere or just in an overall shitty mood.
I’m aware there may be someone watching me, and it’s my responsibility to make sure others don’t suffer because I am, regardless of the reason.
Now, of course, as I say all of this, it doesn’t mean I’m not cognizant of the fact that I’ve done some lousy things in my past that allowed The Butterfly Effect to alter the course of people’s lives in negative ways.
I own everything I’ve ever done. But this is because I can see clearly now.
All I can do is care about how I affect others now and send blessings and acknowledgments of my actions to those I’ve hurt – hoping they know, somewhere deep inside of them, that I would never mistreat them again. I use my past mistakes to guide me toward being a kinder, conscious and more compassionate human being.
So just think about this and see if it makes an impact on you with regard to how you carry yourself – both in thought and deed.
To end this, I thought I’d share a video that, in my opinion, explains The Butterfly Effect perfectly.
So tell me, have you ever experienced The Butterfly Effect?
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