I believe that instead of just passing someone by; one should affirm the other’s existence with a nod, smile or a simple “Hello!” I also believe that this act of kindness is as important as tying my shoes before going out on a run. I never know what goes on in others lives; what I know is that it’s difficult to live day to day in the midst of all the negativity in the world: soldiers and countless innocent Iraqis being killed daily, the floods, tornadoes and fires that displace entire cities, the bank-breaking gas prices…I could go on and on. That’s why, instead of looking away or giving a blank stare to others, I make sure that they know that I see them.
Everyone has had their trials in life. Personally, I have struggled with living up to my family’s expectations. My older siblings have accomplished a great deal: one is a medical student and the others are studying for their MCATs, a standardized test required for admission into Medical School. Then there’s me. Although I have always done well academically, I have never been the one who stays up until 12am reading the latest Stephen King novel…No. I’m the one who you will see at the midnight showing of a new movie starring Adam Sandler.
A couple of years ago, I received my first “D” on a math test. The grade on the test ended up bringing my Pre-Calculus grade down to a “B.” I was not only devastated but also embarrassed. Not one of my siblings had ever had less than an “A” for a final grade. As a result; I didn’t want to come directly home from school that day because I knew the first thing my mother wanted to see when I walked through the door was my grade report. That’s why, instead of going home; I went to do something that I knew I could succeed in: shopping.
While browsing the shoe department at Macy’s, a woman smiled and said “Good afternoon!” to me. This brief encounter immediately changed my mood from sad to happy. The warm gesture of simply saying hello felt particularly good because I had had a crummy morning.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has been loved, hurt and has experienced their fair share of successes and failures. Life can be overwhelming at times, so it’s important to take the time to make others feel that they are special and a part of the human race.
I now realize that extending a kindhearted greeting is paramount because it makes another individual feel positive. Maya Angelou said it best, “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Taking a few seconds out of my day to smile at a busy mother or an elderly man is not hard because I know that it can be the highlight of their day.