‘You have got to clean your own house first before you tell other people that they aren’t doing it right’
– Dan Webster
The above phrase is simple in speaking but deep in its meaning. It is not only talking about cleaning a person’s house or making the area or city cleaner but it is stressing on the importance of self-help. It is a common realization that a person who cannot help his own self can never help others. The above sentence ‘If Every Man Would Sweep His Own Doorstep, the City Would soon be Clean’ provides man with philosophy or an approach to life. A philosophy or approach, if embraced, will make not only the life of the person better but of the whole community. If a person wants to make things right around him, he first has to start with himself.
The above saying does not only talk about physical cleaning or picking up garbage from the house, area, country, etc.. More than that, it talks about mental cleaning- the process of freeing oneself from all the social evils, bad thoughts, and actions. Today, it has become very easy to judge someone for an act or habit. However, if we see closely, we will realize that we are all making the same mistakes but in a different manner. For instance, whenever something bad happens in an area or country, we are all ready to blame the local government or state. Be it about cleanliness projects, plantation process, education, road safety, or any other local or global issue, we hurriedly put it on the government. But if we pay a little attention, we will grasp the fact that self-reform leads to collective reform and not vice versa. It is ignorant of us to depend on the higher authorities even for things that are in our hands. When we are throwing our garbages outside our houses/ on the streets, not taking care of the plants in our own homes and areas, not teaching our children the right education and not following the traffic rules on the road, then its fool of us to think that government will make the whole city impeccable.
It has been seen that whenever a disaster hits a nation or country, people are quick to blame it on economic, political, or other government. However, there are very few people who would actually take responsibility and accept the mistake. For instance, the world is currently facing a global pandemic. Almost all the countries, where the situation is intense, are putting it on the wrong handling of the government. Less than half of the people in such countries are willing to compromise and listen to the directions of the government or healthcare. But when things go wrong, the whole blame only come upon those in authority.
Man protest and voice against all the wrongdoings be it corruption, injustice, violence, or any other thing and that is his right. One should never let tyranny win. However, there is this saying in Urdu, ‘Jesi Qoum, Wesey Hukmaran’ meaning ‘Like nation, like leaders’. It means that more than leaders, these are the people who form the state. If the people are corrupt, bad, and irresponsible then they will get the leader of the same nature. Every evil starts from the lower level. So before we move out to protest against those in authority, its very necessary that we first remove the same evils from within ourselves and houses. Only those countries or cities have prospered whose people are loyal and responsible. If we wish to see any reform on the national level, we should first adopt it at the individual level.
To make things around us better, we should all start from ourselves. If we focus on self-reform more than global reform first, only then we could play a good role in contributing to the betterment of society. A person with social evils, hatred, anger, corruption, and other bad attributes do not have the right to complain about the wrongdoing of others.
As there is this famous saying, ‘Action speaks louder than words’. It is easy to advise others on matters but useless when we ourselves do not practice such advice. No man in the world is perfect. God has made all the humans different but, He has created every human with different abilities. It is the responsibility of each human to search for that ability and make the most of it. We are all citizens of this world and being a citizen, it’s our duty to realize our responsibilities. Before judging the other person for not performing his duties, we should first realize our own obligations. When we start cleaning our own personalities and houses first, we will be able to inspire a lot of people to do the same.