I barely know who I am, so how could I ever know anyone else?
While we live on a planet with billions of other people, we never really know anyone. We may hear about their past or talk about plans for the future, but we can never know everything.
So many people keep too much inside.
So many people hide from their own truths.
So many people try to forget their own story.
How, then, could we know anyone? Or even ourselves? So many things happen in our lives that we don’t know are important until later.
So, what can we do? How can we help?
I know someone who lost all of her friends because she wouldn’t express her pain, defend her opinion or explain her perspective when she got into a fight with someone.
Suddenly everyone was taking sides, and she was left standing alone, because no one in the group knew what she was going through. They stood by the person who told her side of the story.
My friend intended to shield her friends from her pain. She knew they all had stuff to deal with; she didn’t want to make anything worse. But, she only alienated herself and eventually left the friend group.
This story illustrates that it’s never a bad thing to share your feelings.
It shows how often we misunderstand others. It’s so easy to do.
We need to listen more.
Look more for warning signs.
But, the simplest thing in the world to do—and it can save someone’s life—is to smile at them.
Smile when your eyes meet, because that will tell the other person that you see them.
You don’t have to smile with your teeth or smile at them for an hour—just acknowledge them. That small gesture will relay their place in the world, reminding them that they aren’t alone.
A smile as you pass on the sidewalk, move around each other in an aisle at Walmart, stand near one another in line at the post office.
It’s so simple, but it means so much.
That could be the first time they’ve been smiled at all day; you just never know what someone else is going through.
That smile could change their entire world, and it could make them smile at the next person they see, like a beautiful domino effect.
It’s as easy as that.
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own/ Featured Image: Lili Vieira de Carvalho at Flickr