Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

“Even a small star shines in the darkness.”

~ Unknown

A star in the darkness
Confucius is credited with writing and editing some influential Chinese classical literature. His principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and beliefs. As a man, Confucius championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives and in addition, family as a basis for ideal government.

Confucius 20160212_084943

His most famous adage for a good life is  “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, the so-called Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule is well-known throughout the world. Lesser known is the following Confucian quote:

“Attack the evil that is within yourself,

rather than attacking the evil that is in others.”

― Confucius

Do you sometimes catch yourself feeling envious, or jealous in your dealing with others? I have this week been pondering the origin of these thoughts. The world now has an overload of information at its fingertips. Information about what we might aspire to, what we might desire and seek to obtain.


We can never really possess anything, on a permanent basis. In truth, we have but a loan. A short term or long term loan. So why the feeling to have what another has been fortunate to possess on their short term loan?

Where does it stem from?

Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Proverbial Thursday – now posting on Fridays at Something to Ponder About


28 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom”

  1. I really like the first quote. It sounds so simple but when you think about it I think it has quite a few layers. The darkness usually comes across as a large abyss – think of when you close your eyes or when you are in a totally dark room, that blackness seems endless. If you look up at the sky at night sometimes you see stars – and they are tiny…and so far away and yet we can see them. There’s something so powerful in that and you can interpret this saying this way: having an impact on something or someone so far away. In other words, you can do or say something very simple to someone or really just be present for them, and that can be the highlight of their day and speak volumes to them.

    The Confucious quote reminds me to love yourself instead of acting on others to make ourselves feel better. Or if you put it in the context of family, that is to put family first, work out disagreements between family before taking on the world. Then again, I prefer thinking of the quote in the individual context and feel that it works better that way. I do feel some envy sometimes when dealing with others, and it is usually because they have something that I don’t. In these instances I try to remind myself that their life is their life and what they have may not necessarily make them happy since we all have differnet interpretations of happiness.


    1. I too think the first proverb is powerful, Mabel. The context that came to my mind when reading this quote was that even small contributions can be appreciated and sometimes outshine larger more prominent ones because for certain reasons they may be more meaningful. The small star is not jealous of the big star, if we remember this proverb. It speaks of inclusiveness and appreciation of all, big and small.
      Confucius does seem to be wanting us to avoid blaming or criticizing others when we ourselves are not in any way perfect. We must be without fault in order to point the finger at other and make judgements. Yet we make judgements continuously in our lives. In fact, our education system encourages this.
      I also like your thoughts on envy. The desires of one individual may be totally opposed or deviate from the next person. One man’s trash may be another’s priceless treasure depending on circumstances.


      1. ‘The small star is not jealous of the big star,’ I like this saying a lot. Never heard of it. Is it really a proverb? It sounds like the stars are best shining side by side together – like how a team usually has different players, different personalities, different skills.

        I think we cannot fully avoid fault as mistakes are part and parcel of our lives. And can we never fully not judge since each of us will have a certain perspective of belief? We can be open-minded…but still be inclined to stick with what we believe in the first place…so that might mean coming back full circle to judgement.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. HI again, Mabel. Regarding the Small star not being jealous of the big star, – it is not a proverb, or at least one I know. I wrote it in the context of the proverb shared in this post. Grammatically, I made an error in that sentence. It probably should have read, ” If we think about this proverb and what it might mean, we could interpret it to mean that the small star is not jealous of the big star.” – But now that you mention it, I do like it if it was a proverb, or saying. You have brought my attention to that. Thank you! And when I think about it, it is a very useful analogy to give to small children in those moments when they show that they are jealous. Jealous of a friend’s birthday present that they didn’t get, or good grades, or selection for a sporting team. It is so lovely the way you suggest we think of that – ie. as star’s shining side by side, different strengths, and abilities. I would really like to add this post’s discussion to our book?
          Furthermore, you have made an excellent comment on mistakes and judgement. We sometimes pressure ourselves not to judge, or be judgemental, yet you have a lighter, gentler approach. That is to accept that we may have a certain amount of judgement due to our own individual bias, but to be cognizant of being open-minded at all times. Even though we may be stubborn in our viewpoint, or alternatively, consider an opposing view thoroughly, and then dismiss it an invalid based on our own experiences. A really wonderful discussion!! Thanks so much!


          1. Either way, I really like the big and small star saying. You could even think of it as the big star not jealous of the small star – and a whole other meaning pops up. What you wrote there definitely holds on its own 🙂 It can certainly be given to children to think about and also about life in general, a good reminder that our individuality shines and has every right to shine. Would love for this to be included in our book, and you can put your name to that one (I looked it up and don’t see the saying attributed to anyone) 🙂

            ‘we may have a certain amount of judgement due to our own individual bias, but to be cognizant of being open-minded at all times.’ You summed this up very well, better than I could. We will all judge. It’s perfectly okay to stick to our beliefs so long as we’re not forcing them upon anyone else. Would also really like to add this bit of discussion to our book. Thank you for the inspiration, Amanda.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Mabel, and I am glad that you want to include both points in the book. I agree that it is important not to force one’s own particular views on another person, willingly or unwillingly. One can respect a difference of opinion with another person, even if their view might be at complete odds as your own. Should they begin to foist these ideas onto others, and try to change their perspective by threats, or information overload, or argument, then my respect for that person and their opinion might fly out of the window.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. The first quote is such a good reminder that even small things can make a difference. The second is as relevant today as it was when Confucius first said it. Actually it’s more relevant in these times when so few are willing to take responsibility for their own actions.So much easier to blame someone else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad you comment, Peggy. Sometimes my brain takes the long way round to say what you do in just a few words, and yet it is exactly what I mean. (i just use a ton more words to say it). Again, blaming something else rather than looking in one’s own backyard first, seems to be related to a weak self-concept that can’t handle a slight criticism.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh my, your comment made me laugh. My past life was as an editor and writer of plain English. My proudest feat was to turn a 54-word sentence in to one of 10. You can count on me to never give the long answer. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. it really does and it also leads to many good fruits in return.
        Like you know how I mentioned I am reading Victor Hugo’s Les Mis again – slowly enjoying it –
        well when Jean rescues this guy – pulls the cart off – he would want someone to do it for him – right?
        even at the risk of exposing his felon past.
        So he lifts the cart – and helpos.
        way later –
        that same guy rescues jean.

        More of an example of reaping what we plant – but starts with just really thinking of others with high regard –


        1. @ Prior, I must be one of the few people who is not familiar with the Les Mis story. I tend to not really enjoy musicals but I can understand what you are getting at, Yvette. We decide to help others even if it means taking great personal risk to ourselves. Also because it might seem unkind to ignore or walk away from someone in need. Kind acts and especially altruistic acts are bound to give back in many more ways than is obvious at the outset. Reaping what you sow- yes!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. yes – that was what I was getting at…
            “We decide to help others even if it means taking great personal risk to ourselves.”
            although sometimes boundaries are needed and sadly sometimes people push away help to the point where one is puzzled about what to do….

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That is a problem where a person’s pride obliterates their ability to accept help. I think embarrassment comes into this matter too. They feel embarrassed to be perceived to be some kind of burden to another person and feign independence and self reliance.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. yes and yes!!
              well said-
              and sadly, mental illness plays a part – sometimes -from lifetime of avoiding or using things to cope rather than doing personal work that is needed….

              Liked by 1 person

            3. or some are delusional about their condition and live in a sea of pity party, misery, and self-absorption. Okay – only a few – lol
              anyhow, enjoyed comment sharing and I guess a good side note is that mental health awareness is on the rise…

              Liked by 1 person

            4. I think there is a spectrum across all mental health sufferers and personality comes into this. Some cope better than others, some quit too easily, or are quick to rely on others to solve their problems. The more self reliance one has, the better placed one is to handle mental illness. The person indulging in a pity party is not an easy one to help and might even become too draining for a helpful supportive friend. Walking away from them for a short time, may sometimes the best service one can do, for a struggling friend who languishes in the quagmire of self pity, as they are forced to lean on themselves for support and not others.
              Loved the discussion this week!!! Your comments are always salient and thought provoking. Much appreciated. Have a great week!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. So much thought-provoking wisdom in such few words! I love the proverb about attacking the evil in ourselves first – that’s so much more difficult to do than to attack others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely Dee! Isn’t it amazing that one can see so much in just a few words. Proverbs and sayings are incredible. That is why I post them each week. I so enjoy reading and discussing them. Do you have a favourite you would like to share?


  4. Late again but I love the quotes. I’ve always been a fan of Confucius. A little star will shine whether we are looking or not and enough of them will eventually light up the sky. They are all necessary. Life has never been a cake walk but looking around at other’s, I saw that each had their own stuff to carry and I’d rather take my stuff and handle it then take theirs thinking it might be easier. It never is. I never wanted to trade places with anyone no matter what. I have learned to look for the positive in people instead of hammering them. I’m so far from perfect that I have no room to point fingers. When you point fingers at someone else, three are pointing back at you. Golden rule is right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is never too late to comment, Marlene! I always appreciate your insights. I like the angle that the little star will shine whether anyone is looking or not. And collectively, they will light up the sky! What a lovely thought to all those people who are quiet achievers. Looking for the positives is a great approach, Marlene and I must constantly remind myself to do that, lest I slip into too much negativity. I will try to remember that adage about the digits, pointing back at you. Thanks for the wonderful input!

      Liked by 1 person

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