There will always be rumors and stories circulating around that are mostly fiction and have gone through so many mouths that it's become something quite similar to the telephone game. Although, as nasty as gossip can get, every once in a while I'll hear about a friend that's going through a rough time. Yes, she may have told one or two people, not thinking it would get out. But at the same time, she's going on with her life as if everything's fine and not giving a clue to anyone that she's got a lot going on.
We are surrounded by so many people and pass a number of different faces on a day to day basis. Sometimes it's hard to break outside of your own world and remember that behind those faces are ENTIRE LIVES. And what bothers me the most about how vast the world is, is the fact that you never really know what people are going through. It's so easy to push past people or let your bad mood roll off onto others. I know it's a cliché, but I really do believe that one smile in passing can turn someone's day around.
Earlier this month, I was waiting in line at the DMV to get a street parking sticker (yay Charleston parking). Everyone hates the DMV and everyone there is ALWAYS in a bad mood.
But, I was sitting there on my phone when an older lady comes and sits beside me. She interrupted my silence with questions about what to do to get a parking sticker and how parking worked in Charleston.
She was very apologetic for bothering me. To be honest, at first, I was a little annoyed. I just wanted to get my sticker and leave. As she continued to talk to me, I immediately changed my attitude because she was just SO FRIENDLY. It blew my mind. We sat there and talked for almost 30 minutes just chatting about everything. She told me about her daughter, who was pregnant, and her son that had just gotten married.
We talked about her travels around the world and I asked her so many questions about her times. We found out that we had a mutual family friend from my hometown. It was just so refreshing to have someone be so kind and just open up to a stranger.
That conversation has had such a lasting impact on me. I realized that it's so much more fun in life to be open to people and just be friendly. I LOVE making new friends and hanging out with people that I normally wouldn't. It expands your outlook on life and your awareness of others.
I'm so tired of hearing other people make comments about someone when they don't know the whole story and are just judging from a distance. Yeah, she may look rough today, but she spent the entire night at the bedside of a friend who was hospitalized. Be kind before you speak and give the benefit of the doubt.
It's amazing the amount of sh*t someone at the mere age of 20 can endure (let alone anyone older) and still smile every day and make some kind of effort. And for us to add on to that by assuming things, spreading rumors, and judging from a distance says more about your character than theirs.
Moral of the story: Give people an opportunity. Be friendly. Everyone has a story of hardships and it's not hard to do something to make someone else smile. The smallest moments, like a conversation at the DMV, could really help someone out.
Thank you, I'm now stepping down from my soapbox.