A smile is a gift you can give each day

I thought I’d take a small departure from my normal subject material today and talk about something I’m equally passionate about: treating other people with respect.

I made the mistake yesterday of reading the online comments below a talk shared by TED on Facebook. Big surprise: Half of them were derogatory. The worst part was that they weren’t even criticizing his talk, but were personally attacking HIM. One even made a jab about his weight. I guess I should be used to this sort of behavior from people in online forums by now, but it always surprises me. I mean, the guy was a Buddhist monk talking about happiness for crying out loud. Some of the commenters even dragged Mother Theresa into the ring and started bashing HER.

SIGHHHHHHHHHHH. Sometimes humanity really depresses me.

I just have a hard time understanding what it is that makes people feel compelled to disrespect other people. The Buddhish side of me realizes that the very same people who are so cruel to others are really just themselves hurting on the inside. They’re likely dealing with something difficult or feel insecure or hate their lives for whatever reason, and lashing out and disrespecting other people somehow makes their own problems seem small.

But whatever. It’s still wrong. (that’s the other side of me speaking ;p)

Hopefully I’m preaching to the choir here, but even the most well-intentioned of us seem to forget sometimes that every single person we pass on the street is a human being. A HUMAN BEING. Someone with feelings, beliefs and concerns. Someone with VALUE. You have no idea what’s inside another person’s head and heart, but I guarantee you they would appreciate being acknowledged as an equal. In our hurried lives, we easily forget to look into one another’s eyes and smile. We’re too busy paying for our coffee, checking our phones for messages, hurrying to get home after a long day. We forget that something as simple as eye contact and a smile can go a long way. Granted, sometimes people are themselves too busy to notice a gesture of kindness, and it can admittedly be discouraging when 9 out of 10 people you pass on the street don’t return your smile, but when that 10th person SEES you, really SEES you, and smiles back, it’s magical. It’s a form of communion. An “I see you, fellow traveler, and I’m glad to be on this earth with you.”

I saw this video created by the Cleveland Clinic the other day while attending a volunteer training at the hospital. I think it sums up what I’m trying to say here quite nicely.

 

So get out there and give out some free smiles today. Acknowledge someone you don’t usually acknowledge.It doesn’t take any extra time and may even make YOU feel better.

And thanks for reading. I see you fellow travelers, and I’m glad to be on this earth with you 🙂

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