Who (or what) are we really?

Our world… what is it anymore? Where’s the love and compassion we once were so full of? It’s gone. Where it went? No one can seem to find it, even within themselves. We’ve truly turned to the dark-side, haven’t we? Instead of putting our courage and love into your friends, your relationships, the Starbucks cashier you see every day, your mail man- nope- instead, we stick it all into our jobs, into making money- into helping ourselves get further in life- no matter who we have to hurt in the process. Our lives… well, they should be more full of life, shouldn’t they? Instead of just trying to have all the material things you could possibly possess; how about giving to those who need it? Instead of trying to make sure you have the best day possible… how about you put all your passion into making someone else’s day for a change? If we could all focus on someone else, see things through someone else’s eyes, maybe, just maybe, we could become human beings again, instead of dark, metal robots with hearts so cold.

Is that what we really want to be, anyway? Robots? Robots can’t feel compassion or love or even any feelings at all! And sadly, that’s the way we’re headed, people. We have to change our vicious, self-absorbed ways now or we will lose everything.

Now, your most likely reading this and thinking “Oh surely this doesn’t apply to me, I help people out sometimes”. But, oh no my friend, you’re mistaken. This applies to everyone; every beautiful person on this god-forsaken earth. We may all think we’re such caring people, and some of us may really be, but that percentile is so small, it scares me. The thought that none of us really and truly understand how to care and love is so disheartening. Okay, so you give money to the Red Cross, like, once or twice a year? Congrats on that! Seriously! Anything you do like that does help someone in need and it’s so important to do things like that, but what I’m talking about can’t be fixed with a little cash here and there. What I’m talking about is deeper than that. This is about the little things in life that go so far.

I heard this ‘quote’ a little while ago, “When you ask someone ‘how are you?’ Do you really hear the reply?” And it really made me think. I don’t ever really hear the reply. I just feel good that I took my time to ask someone how they are. But that’s not enough. Not at all. So I started trying to have a full-on conversation with someone, no matter how much time I had to get wherever I needed to be, because it sure as heck isn’t as important as our friendship. Time; hey, there’s enough of that to go around. But true friends? No matter how cliché it sounds- they are exceptionally hard to find. So when you find one, make sure you hear their response.

That’s the other thing. While keeping a true friendship is extraordinary, it’s the random people you meet each day that will really make the difference, sometimes. Ok so let’s say you’re already late to your meeting, your kid is sick, and you’re behind on a major project for work, but you definitely need your morning Starbucks Coffee before you deal with any of this. That’s understandable. So go ahead; get your coffee. You’re standing in line behind this cheery fellow who seriously can’t decide what he wants. “I think I’ll have the… oh wait no I’m allergic to chocolate… well this makes things difficult doesn’t it!” The cheery guy says with a grin spread from ear to ear. By now, you’re completely and utterly annoyed. You have somewhere to be and so much going on in your life it’s ridiculous! How could he be so rude as to ruin your already horrible day by making you even more late and being so horribly happy?! This is when you explode “Look pal, I-…” You start off in an utterly infuriated voice, but are cut off by his cell phone ringing. “Oh my goodness! My pardon! It’s my doctor- better, uhm, take this- sorry for the troubles” He says, exasperated, his grin, suddenly taking a more gloomy tone. He walks out of the line, towards the back of the coffee shop. You take a deep sigh and order your regular coffee, pay, and go to wait for it to be made. It’s at this very moment that you hear the cheery fellow in the back of the coffee shop talking to his doctor on the phone. You just can’t resist the urge to listen to what he’s saying. “Dr. Martin, thank you for calling.” He starts. “Yes, I will be at the Chemotherapy session- oh and uhm just a quick question for you… uhm how much time do I have left?” He inquires. “2 weeks?!” He exclaims. “Oh … is there any way I may live longer than that?” A long, drown out pause takes place. “Oh... I, I see. Well- if I only have that much time left, might as well make the best of it, right?” He says with such a brave, yet sad, smile, it melts your heart inside. You were just going to totally call him out … and you find out this poor man is dying. Dying! And why were you going to call him out anyway? Oh yah- it was because he was too happy, to utterly happy when you were so utterly sad. Now who’s to blame for being rude?
Fact is, the guy in front of you that holds up the line could be anyone, but the thing is, you don’t know who it might be. You never know who anyone is until you, well, get to know them! Never EVER judge a book by its cover. We need to see things through other people’s eyes, but even as hard as we try that, there are things we can’t see when we look at people, or even through their eyes. But the better we get at seeing the world in someone else’s eyes, the better people we become. If you can understand someone’s situation, you can know them better, you can know their emotions better.

I remember when I was real young, I hated this one girl. I hated her so much. Know why I hated her? Because she hated me. Vicious cycle, no? Funny thing is people think that it’s just kids that do that. It’s just our ‘immature ways’ that make us hate people because they hate us, or because we’re jealous of them, etc. But, in reality, everyone, kid or adult, does this. And while it may always be a part of our human nature, why do we have to act so in key with it? This girl that I ‘hated’, I never talked to her. The thought of talking to her never occurred to me because DUH! I ‘hated’ her, she ‘hated’ me; so that means I can’t ever talk to her or be friends with her, right? Wrong! But this is what goes through our heads. We establish labels and we place them on everyone we meet. The more we use cruel words to describe people, the more we believe it’s true. If I keep saying over in my head that I hate her, then it becomes more true to me. So fill your head up with kind, compassionate words for everyone you meet. Yah, I get it; some people are annoying or mean or rude or all of the above! But there’s got to be something about them you like. So you need to focus on that one thing, whatever it is, and it will make them a lot easier to like and a lot harder to hate. And try to talk to these people! You can be friends with them if you want, too! You only ‘hate’ or ‘dislike’ them because you told yourself you do. Remember that you control your emotions. You can be sad, angry, happy or whatever you want whenever you want because it’s under your control.
If we could all focus on being like that, things would be easier, wouldn’t it? Instead of trying to size people up or find a flaw in them, see the best in them! Who knows- maybe you and them could be really great friends in the future! You never know until you try.

So get up and try! Be compassionate! Love the world and everyone in it. We’re all stuck with each other, after all, so might as well make this fun, right? Remember that everyone is equal and that while some people may seem just so rude or arrogant, when it all comes down to it, you and them aren’t so different. No matter who we are, we’ll all human and we’re all on planet earth! See? Already two things in common! So be nicer next time you see your great-aunt Gladys, help your old, cranky neighbor mow his lawn, tell your mailman you really appreciate his services. Do anything you think would make someone’s day, or help the world be more loving; one person at a time.

Do it. I dare yah.
-Courtney Latour





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