I feel like in the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to experience both the joys and setbacks of working directly with people. But you already knew this.
I’ve whined and moaned about my sales job, complained about grumpy customers as I wait tables, and have (on a greater level) been absolutely disgusted at the violence in the world today.
But I’ve also met some beautiful people that display the utmost patience, kindness, and forgiveness on a daily basis. And people like this inspire me and challenge me to “be better”.
A couple weeks ago while waitressing, I had a family come in with their grandmother. Caught up with a busy night and worrying about twenty million things at once (Does table 2 have their chili cup? Did I remember to type in table 5’s drinks? Aw shoot, did I deliver the bill to table 8 after getting 3’s bill?), I completely forgot to type in the poor grandmother’s order. After realizing this and apologizing profusely and feeling utterly deflated, my manager came over and told them the meal, of course, was on the house. They were gracious and accepted my apology- also telling me with a laugh that their daughter was once a waitress and they completely understood that mistakes happen.
It’s people like this that make an absolutely crappy day turn into an opportunity to believe in the good in people. I couldn’t have been any more grateful towards these strangers. They could have been indifferent or rude towards me, but the fact that they displayed such warmth made me want to strive for this level of kindness myself.
Just a couple days ago, my family decided to go out to eat to one of our favorite restaurants. The service was sub-par, we were kept waiting for our food for over an hour, and my mother’s order was completely forgotten. Instead of getting pissed off, I found myself thinking about the time I forgot to type in the grandmother’s meal while I was working. Crap happens sometimes. We voiced our concerns to the waitress and we got our food. Though we were displeased at the wait, the fact that we didn’t completely bitch the waitress out and ruin her night (she couldn’t help that the kitchen didn’t have our food) potentially allowed the chain reaction that the grandmother passed onto me to live on.
That’s nice story and all, but how realistic is it to expect this level of understanding more often when cities are being bombed, ISIS is in existence, and shootings occur every other month? It’s hard not to feel dismayed at mankind more often than not.
So with all this crappy stuff seemingly outweighing any good that happens in the world let me ask you this:
Are you putting “good” out into the world? If so, how much?
You may think, “why yes, Kristin. I’m not bombing the life out of my neighbors and I’m cutting my waitresses some slack every once and awhile”. Great. I appreciate it. But what I’m really talking about is putting in the energy to inspire good in others with the things that YOU do- doing more than simply NOT doing bad things.
Well, I’ll be darned if I don’t sound like I’m trying to be Pope Francis’s little minion (I’d be honored).
I am fully aware that what I’m asking of people is exhausting. It takes energy to constantly put others ahead of yourself, even if it’s your family and friends. And when it comes to complete strangers, why go out of your way for them? Your happiness comes before theirs, right?
Right…? I’m not so sure.
Can you imagine what kind of world we could live in if we put others before ourselves more often? I’d love to believe that humans are more than just animals who engage themselves in state of nature games. By putting more positivity into your interactions with others, life might just get a little better for yourself and everyone else around you.
The power to continue to make the world a less crappy place is completely controllable by us, the people. It begins with us doing the “little things”, not just simply writing out a check to a charity (although donating is nice, too. I’m not trying to deny that fact).
Talking poorly about someone you know or barely know? Spreading negativity about how you feel about something? Saying something to someone even though you know it will hurt them? That girl isn’t pretty enough to be with her boyfriend? I’ve been guilty of all of these more than once or twice, and it has gotten me nowhere. Decreasing the negativity you put out begins with behaviors such as these. It may be fun to talk shit, but in the end who is it benefitting? I’ve met some of the people that I used to not “like” only to be surprised at how much I loved being around them.
But eh mah gawd…cue the sappy music. I feel like I sound like I’m completely trying to bust your balls here, but remembering how I’ve treated some people and seeing the way some people treat one another saddens me and needs to be stopped.
This begins with your friends and family. Every single day, you are blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones. This is not something to be taken for granted- so use this time to make both yourself and your loved ones better people.
That sounds so extremely hippie right now and I want to punch myself in the face for it, but I’m a firm believer that that fact alone has helped me get through tough times.
Feel like death? Make someone else’s day. Make them smile; make their life easier. Show them you care. Be a little less concerned about yourself. Helping others without expecting anything in return makes one a better person- it’s a win-win.
By being kinder and more empathic, you’re likely to discover heroes all around you- heroes in less likely ways. The grandmother who was openly compassionate towards me will not be forgotten any time soon. I’m continually amazed at the potential of humankind to treat one another with respect and want this to serve as a beacon of hope to those who struggle to do so or to those who are already making those little changes in their lives now.
Dealing with people is something we are going to have to do for the rest of our lives- we might as well make it as enjoyable as possible while we have the chance of being here.
So crack a smile at a stranger, genuinely compliment someone who you thought you used to not like, strive to continually show your loved ones compassion, learn to forgive and forget, and remember that those who continue to be sowers of discord across the world can be combatted by us every day: the people who have power to inspire and create good in others.
How frickin’ cool is that?