For the longest time, I put myself first, even if it meant hurting people along the way. My lack of consideration and egotistical actions gave me small wins every once in a while, but it was as if I was walking in massive circles, not realizing it was getting me nowhere.
As the years have passed, I’ve noticed that nice girls may finish last in a sprint, but they always win in the long run.
Haven’t you read about all of those selfish businessmen that screw people over for years just to end up behind bars? (Sup Enron.) Sure, they got to live the sweet life for a while, but now they’re just trying to survive and hold on to the soap for dear life.
Yes, some of you may be reading this with steam coming out of your ears, thinking “She is such a hypocrite. I hate her.” There are plenty of people out there that would call me anything but nice and I’m sure as hell not Mother Theresa, but I like to think I have a good heart. I genuinely care for people and invest in the relationships that are worth keeping around. Or so I think…
I actually suffer from a huge social insecurity that is best described in Shauna Niequist’s book Cold Tangerines:
“One of my deepest secret beliefs is that I am actually not a good person at all, not a talented or helpful person in any way, and that someday everyone will find out even though I’ve managed to trick them for a little while, and this felt like the confirmation of all those feelings for all those years.”
After reading this passage, I couldn’t believe that someone else felt this way!!
But, if the church has taught me anything, it’s to try and treat others the way I would want to be treated… Even if God has to gently nudge me every Sunday and whisper “Hey, you’re being an asshole again.”
After 25 years of experience, I’ve learned that if you only care about yourself, you might as well take a shotgun to the foot because that kind of behavior won’t get you very far.
Don’t you want to be remembered as a kind, generous person? Don’t you want to be known as someone that people just die to be around? Don’t you want to bring light and positivity into a world that has so much sadness and hate?
It’s a daily struggle, but I strive to make everyone that I come in contact with smile. There is no better sound than laughter, especially when you’re the one that caused it.
If you need a little help, start surrounding yourself with happy people. I recently discovered how much the people you hang around can negatively or positively affect your everyday life.
I swear my roommate Katie is going to go down in history as a modern-day saint because she is a shining example of pure joy. She always has a huge grin on her face and can’t help but make everyone around her feel special and important. Katie has been the most influential person in my recent life as she shows me what it’s like to be a truly GOOD human. It’s inspiring to say the least.
So, try on kindness for size. It doesn’t have to mean donating your entire savings to The Salvation Army.
The next time you’re checking out at the grocery store, smile and compliment your cashier’s sweater. Bring a little hope into a stranger’s day. I promise that these little acts of kindness will be just as rewarding to you as it is to others.
And if you live your entire life treating others with respect and still don’t cross the desired finish line, at least you know that there is an afterlife waiting for you that is better than any material possession on earth.