“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution” ~ Khalil Gibran
Last Monday I was finishing off my workout with a few rounds of sprints when I had an elderly woman approach me as I stood panting. She rested her hand on my sweaty back as I pulled out my earphones. She smiled sweetly and said softly, “You’re a good runner, you should try out for the Olympics.” I laughed, then smiled shyly. Sweet but silly woman, I thought. I sprint at a fraction of anything Olympic, but her words lifted my spirit nonetheless. Though I was tired and had finished my last set, I couldn’t wipe the dorkish smile off my face. I shook my head, replaying her words and ran one more lap, fueled exclusively on the positive energy gifted to me by a stranger.
She owed me no kindness, but she gave it anyway—no strings attached.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own world, we forget that it’s shared by 6.9 billion other people—and they all come with their own stories and struggles.
I had the pleasure of sharing some of my stories and a few exciting life changes with some friends these past few weeks. During one of these visits, a friend shared a story about her daughter’s success, but she seemed unsettled. Curious about her condition, I probed a little further. It turns out that another woman, someone her age, had tried to belittle her daughter’s accomplishments. By making snide, dismissive remarks, this woman was actually trying to downplay someone twenty years her junior. Unfreakingbelievable.
Some people just seem to have a really have a hard time seeing other people succeed—as if it’s a personal attack to their success.
Those who adopt that way of life have no place in mine. If seeing success offends you, you’re not going to like what’s ahead.
It’s one thing to be so self-immersed that you’re unable to share the joy of someone else’s success, but to try and downplay it, that’s just downright pitiful. Bringing someone down will not make you feel better about yourself.
“The hallmark of insecurity is bravado.” ~ Brandon Sanderson
We all have struggles. When someone else overcomes obstacles in their life, it doesn’t mean those obstacles end up in ours. Likewise, when someone shines, it doesn’t dim our own light. In fact, their light can brighten our path, if we let it.
As I’ve had a chance to catch up with friends, I realized something; I’ve got a lot of successful friends. One of them just bought herself a new home. At 23, she’s a homeowner. Another friend is exercising some new boundaries with family members and she is already reaping positive results. Seeing and being able to share these experiences didn’t take away from my own. I sat, listened, smiled and thought how great it was to be surrounded by such positivity and support.
There are no sidekicks—we are all heroes in our own right. Together we form a league of extraordinary men and women.
It’s not always about you and it’s not always about me. It’s about humanity: unity, positivity, productivity and progression—big UPPP. Get it?
We are merely different bodies made up of the same stuff. We are brothers and sisters mothered by the Earth. When we get cut, we all bleed the same red blood.
Spitting on my spirit is like sh*tting on your own.
But it seems we don’t realize this until we’re older—much older. Perhaps it takes the disintegration of the “oh-so-hot” bodies, the deterioration of the sharp mind we boasted about, the humbling of our egos, to finally realize we are all “one.” Perhaps that’s when we realize that grudges are too heavy of a burden to carry on chipped shoulders, especially into our final years.
My grandma understood this, “give and forgive” was her creed. I thought she was foolish, letting people get away with so much. I used to think people took advantage of her kindness, she let them. How could she? Detachment, that’s how. She gave freely with no expectations. Her wisdom was in knowing that although we live in a material world, it is the immaterial stuff that matters. She understood what we in our competitive youth and raging adulthood don’t seem to understand—there’s no harm in sharing your light.
Our lives are intertwined, but they are independent. My journey is mine alone. We can walk beside one another, holding hand, but we walk our own paths. There’s no loss in sharing someone’s joy and there’s no joy is exploiting someone’s grief. Those who have grandparents or are lucky enough to spend some time with the elderly will understand this. Their urge to freely give their advice, knowledge, compassion and joy for the successes of children, grandchildren and even strangers, is unparalleled.
So don’t wait and don’t waste—use your words to UPPPlift.
Restore someone’s faith in humanity and do something selfless, today.
Lift someone’s spirits and watch your own spirit soar.
Sheetal Deo is an aspiring writer, blogger and bad-ass lawyer. To prevent getting caught up in that world, Sheetal stays grounded with personal and professional development work, like philosophical counseling, picking things up and putting them down at the gym, pushing and pulling things, hitting things and cooking things. You know, the simple things.
Editor: Maja Despot