Leave People Better Than You Found Them

Alexa - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 12, 2009

Young children are taught to leave things better than they found them. However, this principle is easily applied to everything. It is difficult to leave a sandwich better than you found it after it is half eaten. However, I believe it applies in another sense. I believe in leaving people better than I found them. The power of a smile in passing, or an encouraging comment, are few of the many things that can help leave people better than you found them. If people make a concerted effort to say something kind to someone else, what a different place the world would be.

It is not to say that all people are deliberately selfish, but it is easy to follow our own rhythm in life. If more people took the time to simply ask others how they are doing, or tell them they are appreciated, the world would change. The greatest example to me of this principle is my friend’s mother Holly. She is absolutely one of the most caring individuals I have ever met. I have never heard her talk about anyone in a negative light. She truly sees the world through rose-colored spectacles and loves everyone before she even meets them. If someone cuts her off while she is driving she simply replies with a smile, “They must be having a stressful day,” or “I’m sure they didn’t mean to” even if they did. I’ve never seen her in passing without her asking if I’m doing alright, or if I need anything. I have always had a passion for helping others, but after meeting Holly that passion deepened.

I resolved to make a change in my life. I made a concerted effort to be considerate and thoughtful to everyone. I started with trying to find the good in others, despite their vices or flaws. If I found myself unable to find something positive about their personality, I would look for something such as their appearance or clothing. Eventually, I stopped seeing the negative in others altogether. My calculated and deliberate efforts became natural and genuine. Once I found an ability to see the good in others, leaving people better than I found them became simple. I came to appreciate and love people for who they truly are and not for the superficial things. That realization made my life more worthwhile, knowing I was striving for something that helps others. It is my hope that one day, someone will tell me that I truly made a difference in their life and influenced them to be better. Inspiring just one person makes life worth living.