Spread Importance, Spread Love

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Confession time: I am a bit odd. I have always been odd, and will always be odd. It’s just part of who I am. The only issue there is that people who know me will sometimes pretend not to know me, or people will decide not to like me because I am a tad different. They may think I don’t notice, but I do.

Don’t worry, I don’t hold grudges of this sort. Instead, these feelings led to a realization that one purpose of my life is to make others feel noticed, appreciated, and important. Everyone feels a little “different.” I don’t send people bouquets or trumpet their names from rooftops. I just try my best to say “hi” to everyone I know in the halls, ask people about their days and actually listen to their answers, take an interest in the lives of others, and be as inclusive as possible.

Think fast. Who won the last five soccer world cups? Unless you have either wicked memorization skills or a lack of anything better to do, you shouldn’t know the answer. But do you remember five people who made you feel important today? I do, and I bet you do, too. Who asked, “How are you?” in the hall? Who lent you socks at practice? Who asked why you looked so sad in math class?

I want to make everyone I interact with feel important. This is not something I can do by sticking to my usual group of friends, nor by ignoring that sad kid that no one talks to. This is also not something I can do by being bigoted and scoffing at people’s choices and beliefs that aren’t my own. I have a responsibility to be kind to others, even when they are unkind to me, or when I am having a bad day and don’t want to.

I remember the coaches, captains, teachers and friends who made me feel important even six years ago, and they still inspire me to work hard and be kind. My goal is to be this sort of catalyst in the lives of others- to take an interest in people who have been pushed around or ignored, or even people who are well-liked, making them feel more significant in a small way. It’s not hard at all to compliment someone on a sports time, a test score or a smile that just had its braces removed. It’s also not hard to ask how someone’s day was, or to laugh along genuinely as they tell a funny story.

I’m definitely not saying I do this perfectly all the time. Far from it. However, I have noticed that as I’ve been incorporating putting more value onto others into my life, people have been opening up to me more as well. I’ve made many new friends. Younger teammates confide in me or come to me for advice. I am someone who is better liked, better trusted and, frankly, more “popular”, just because I try my best to give everyone the respect they deserve. Plus, don’t you like it when someone is excited to see you?

It’s the little things that make someone’s day, and sometimes even the little things that can change someone’s life. So let’s all let the people around us know they’re important in small ways. And if you ever need someone, I’ll be here.





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