Most of the time I would consider myself a non-trusting cynic when it comes to people and how I feel about the human race; and honestly if you walk through a mall or turn on a TV and look at any kind of reality show, who can blame me? The news teaches us to fear most people. Reality shows teach us that most people are shallow humans who only care about their money or their vanity. And walking through the mall will teach you that there is a serious shortage of mirrors and common courtesy in the world today.
Plus, like most people, I’ve been through the school of hard knocks and sadly, the people who you care about the most are the only ones that can truly betray you. For several decades of my life, I could pretty much count on being done wrong by people I thought I should trust, on being hurt, on being kicked when I was down. It was a hard way to live and I guess that’s where my all around bad attitude comes from when it comes to humans on the whole. So you can imagine my distress when I was asked to write about the subject of “The People” and how they are overall good and how they have shaped who I am now. To be honest, I was a little angry about it. Then I started to dig a little deeper. I had to push past my own barriers that I had built and my own self-righteousness and see myself for who I really am. A flawed human who has made her share of mistakes; who has been rude; who has broken the law; who has been selfish; who has caused hurt; who has even committed a fashion faux pas or two.
And yes, even the people who had done me wrong in the past have shaped who I am. But when I really stop, and quiet my mind and my heart and I think back to my life, I’ve had a lot of miraculous people and events occur in my life to help me when I needed it most. So why am I so bitter towards humans? I guess because the bad things in life always stick out more than the good. Hurt lasts longer in memories and in hearts than good things do.
So I started to make a conscious effort to see the good in people and a funny thing happened to me.
It started off with a story I saw on the news about a little boy named Cayden Taipalus who was sad about the kids in his school who couldn’t eat a hot lunch because they had a negative balance on their lunch accounts. He brought in his own money and paid off their lunch accounts and started a movement. People started sending him money to pay lunch accounts every day.
Then I saw a story about a young lady named Kayla Montgomery who had been diagnosed with MS in high school. She had been a soccer player but couldn’t play anymore so she started running track. She started out as the slowest runner on her track team and worked and worked until she became the fastest. Even though she can’t feel her legs, and she has to have someone at the finish line to catch her because she collapses when she’s done running. She recently won state with her time on the 3200 meter and a college scholarship.Slowly, I began to realize that maybe there are some people in this world that are decent and are raising decent children who will hopefully grow up to be decent adults. Little by little I started seeing the things in my life every day that I had been blind to before. The small extraordinary things that make life beautiful and don’t get much credit because I am so busy focusing on the big crappy things.
Then something close to me happened. The guy who makes my tea every morning, who always has a smile on his face, who always asks me how my day is, who always wishes me well, told me he was leaving for six months on a mission trip. I was floored. Here was this person, who knew so much about me and I never bothered to ask about his life. I never realized how deep of a person he was and why he was so happy all the time. I never realized because I never asked. I never looked past my day, my issues, my life to ask about his.
I realized that I am the problem.
WHAT?!? How could this be? How could I be the problem? The bad things that have happened to me in my life are real and they sucked. But somehow, somewhere along the way I stopped looking for the good things in life and so I only saw the bad. My heart became hard to real people in the world that are also struggling with bad things that have happened to them but are still doing everything they can to make the world a beautiful place.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Evil will always be out there. But as long as there are people out there in the world striving to reach their dreams and looking out for the interests of strangers, the world can’t be all that bad.
Does this mean that I am going to start trusting everyone that I come across? No, not at all. You know why? Because the bad people in my life have shaped me and taught me lessons, I’ve learned to be careful with my heart. But maybe, I can open my heart a little bit more to some everyday occurrences and the people I pass by on a daily basis to understand that not all people are terrible and selfish wretches. Maybe I can learn to open my heart a little to the idea that some people are fighting harder battles than I am and that there are some people in the world that do their best every day to make the world beautiful in spite of the ugliness that surrounds us.
Change is not something that comes easily to me, so I’m sure this will be a hard fought lesson but I promise to do my best.
That which does not kill me, had better start running.
Peace and love,