Hard to believe, but we can make a difference

There are people who are simply a pleasure to be around. We all know them. They’re the ones who actually smile and say hello. They’re the ones who seem genuinely happy and joyful — because they are. They’re the ones you’re glad to see and leave you better than when they came. They build us up with friendly confidence and a warm smile. They’re the ones who take time to make others a part of their lives and to be part of the lives of others. They’re welcoming and warm.

We could all be like those people, if it weren’t for fear, anger, jealously, bitterness and who knows what else that makes us glare and stare at people rather than smile and say hello. Many of us are just too busy pointing out the flaws of others, doing our best to make them look their worst, because this makes us feel better. We’ve become so jaded in this cynical world that we automatically assume the worst of others, rather than the best. We’ve all done it, talked stink about someone, belittled them, when they weren’t around to defend themselves because it’s easier that way. Some people actually take great pride in talking stink and dragging people down. Don’t hang with these people.

The negative comes naturally to far too many people, which is sad.

So what’s the point?

Just this.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We never really know what difference we make in the lives of others with our day-to-day routines. We don’t see how any of what we do in our daily schedule has any impact on the people whose paths we cross in the store, at the beach, at church, at work. We’re so wrapped up in our worlds and worries that we have no idea if what we say and what we do influences family, friends, acquaintances or even strangers.

Perhaps it doesn’t.

But perhaps it does.

And if it does, wouldn’t we rather err on the side of brightening someone’s day and making them feel better, rather than treating them as if we don’t give a damn? That we don’t have time for them?

So with violence, death and destruction rising across not just the United States, but the world, can we really change anything, living on this little island in the Pacific Ocean? We’ve asked this before and we’ll ask it again. Do the actions of one matter?

Rather than say no, let’s say yes. Let’s say that on this day, at least this one day, we’ll try to praise rather than criticize. We’ll do something nice rather than do nothing at all. We’ll open our eyes and minds and doors to what’s going on all around us, rather than keep them closed. We can’t be so busy that we don’t have time to call a friend, to meet someone at the beach for a barbecue and beer, to swing and just say, hey, I remember you. We don’t mean to, but many of us give the impressions, that we’re too important for most people. And the days pass by quickly and before we know it, we hardly know people who were once good friends.

So, here’s what we suggest. Before we tell you, know it will involve sacrifice. You’ll have to give something up, TV, the gym, the bar, a book, the yard work or any of the tasks we tackle that add busyness to our lives.

Here is what we ask. It’s not complicated: Make people your priority. You’ll figure it out. Oh, the results won’t be instant. But they will come. In more ways than you may ever know.

If you think we’re full of it, then perhaps you’ll consider the words of Aesop, a Greek storyteller:

“The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”

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