I’ve come to realize that in some way shape or form we are all connected. When I cheer someone on, in some way I’m cheering myself on. When I have hope for someone, in some way I’m deriving hope for myself. It works the other way too. Whatever negativies, whatever hostilities I feel often are negativities and hostilities that I now bring into my own life if they’re not already harbouring within me.
These aren’t new thoughts. We’ve heard of Karma. We’re aware of the adage of doing unto others. But for some reason I’m noticing time and again that life has a quick turnaround. Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe there isn’t as much time left as there once was so the universe is steadfastly speeding up its reaction time to make its point known to me. But when I’m friendly, amiable, and supportive of someone I get an immediate return in kind for these altruistic manners. When I’m antagonistic about or toward someone it is amazing how readily and how pervasively these contrary thoughts and deeds permeate my life. Why? Because I dwell in the negative just as I relish and appreciate the positive.
I cannot presume nor do I pretend to know how all of this works or where this all leads. But as a result of these life lessons I have chosen to focus on the good in others and the affirming aspects of my own life. It’s just what makes me feel better.
Similarly my father had two related pieces of advice for me:
Focus on the positive and the rest will take care of itself.
Be nice to people and the rest will take care of itself.
He knew that I have a tendency to worry and to ruminate. And like anyone else, when I worry and ruminate the adverse in me tends to come forth. What dad wanted to do was to bring out the good in me by encouraging me to focus on thinking and acting in only the most edifying of ways.
I’m not a proselytizer. And far be it from me to tell someone, anyone, how to live. But wouldn’t the world be a little bit better if we were all positive thinkers who were nice to one another?
Instead of being envious of someone’s success what if we celebrated eachother’s victories? Instead of withdrawing from the world what if we smiled? Instead of rushing forward what if we took a moment and held the door open?
Generosity and good will aren’t restricted to grand gestures; they also reside in the simplest of human kindnesses and decencies.