Ever have one of those moments when you’re laughing so hard, that your cheeks begin to hurt and your stomach aches?
I have those moments quite often, and they usually involve my interactions with strangers. The majority of the time, it’s because I made a decision to do this: smile.
It’s something incredibly simple, but I feel that we often forget to do this. We get so caught up in our daily activities due to the busyness of our lives, unaware of all the people we are interacting with.
These are people with names. They have a story to tell. They have their strengths and weaknesses, and have experienced accomplishments and hardships throughout life.
I want us to find ways to connect with strangers. Bringing them sunshine, whether the skies are grey and windy, or bright and sunny. We can’t let our attitudes and actions affect how we treat others, and we can’t let their circumstances affect how we react to them.
There’s no doubt that it’s easier to be more kind towards others when they’re being friendly back. But I can’t recall a time when God said something along the lines of this:
“Hey Marissa, you’ve been doing great lately with loving others. I know how you’ve been interacting with that one particular person, and I’m glad to see they’re responding positively to your kind words! But listen. You know that other person, the one who everyone dislikes and talks badly about? I’m going to give you a pass on them. If they aren’t even going to acknowledge your kind actions towards them, why waste your time? Cleary they’ve got some sort of problem, and it’s not your responsibility. Alright? Good talk.”
My goodness, if love and kindness were based solely on what we received from our actions, we’d be seeing a world that is more messed up than it already is.
We’re not going to be able to change everyone, and we can’t be everyone’s best friend. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to show you that I appreciate you as a person.
For the people who are in service jobs (whether it’s a shuttle driver, a cashier, a sanitation worker, anything), I’m going to make sure you understand how much I appreciate you. I’m going to ask how you’re doing, smile, and thank you for your service.
Yes, it’s their job. But they don’t have to serve me with the quality that they do, or even do the task at all. I am not entitled to anything, none of us are.
With customers at my job, I’m going to try to strike up a conversation however I can to make sure they have a great experience at the store. Not because there’s a quota I have to reach or a hidden agenda that I have, and not even because it’s a company policy. But because I personally want to make sure that each person that I interact with leaves with a smile on their face, and I want each person to feel that I viewed them as unique and special.
Because that’s exactly how God created them.
My actions towards them shouldn’t be reflective of how they treat me. They can be incredibly friendly, or blow off my “hellos” every time I interact with them throughout the week. I’m not looking for anything in return for how I treat them, I have nothing to gain.
All I desire is for each person I interact with to know that I value them. No matter how long that person may be in my life, whether it’s for a few seconds or I regularly interact with them, I’m going to greet them with a smile — and hope that they too pass that smile on to someone else.