The quote from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green in regards to Hazel Grace reads,
“Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease.
I want to leave a mark.
But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars.”
While the book may have a lot of faults in itself, this quote remains true. Yet still everyday people try to do something in ordered to be remembered. I can’t even say I am separate because here I am blogging, hoping that some day, long after I am gone, maybe my words will have impacted someone.
Which is why I always try to be kind. I think it is good to want to impact the world so long as you do it in a way that can really help. If you want to change the world, start with yourself.
Be a gentle, kind person, smile at strangers and tell them to have a nice day, when you see a person who looks like their day isn’t going well, compliment them on something: their shoes, shirt, makeup, hair, smile, etc. You will instantly see how they light up and their world just got a little brighter as well.
So maybe I won’t be remembered for blogging or writing, that’s fine, maybe to some lost soul I can be remembered for showing kindness in a world that so often lacks it anymore.
We are in such a hurry now a days that we often forget to tell people to have a nice day, whether it is your doctors and nurses, the server who brought you food, the check out person at the grocery store or drug store.
I don’t like to make eye contact with people, but even without the eye contact, and a sincere voice, I can see out of the corner of my eye the difference it makes, not only does it lighten up in the person but you can feel it in the air almost. The pressure of the world seems to loosen up around me when I make others smile.
So why is this important in regards to chronic illness? Well honestly this applies to most people, but I suppose another quote that can be used is you never know the battles that someone else is fighting. The server you may have told to have a nice day may be battling an illness of their own and something as small as that could have turned their day around. We never know.
I do know though that 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. Each year, 34,000 people will die by suicide, about one death per 15 minutes.
When I was down and fighting depression whilst also working for a Hardee’s, there were comment cards that we were told to give out with each meal, while the other workers didn’t do it, I always made sure to. Even when I would come in that day after a meltdown and feeling like the world would be better off without me, I would pass them out because I wanted to make sure I was doing good enough because I felt like I wasn’t doing enough in the world and also because I was a rule follower.
But I noticed something, ever so often younger people would come into Hardee’s, I would say in their 20s or so they were some of the kindest customers ever in regards to understanding if I made a mistake or we were slow, and regardless of how well I did or mistakes I made, they always filled out the comment card and told me I had a nice smile and was sweet. And it made a world of difference in how I worked, I strived to be kind and smile at all the customers even if they were rude to me, and it was no longer because it was the rules but because a few people told me it made a difference and it made me happier.
Kindness can be like a spark, but get enough people to be kind and it can spread like a fire. Kindness may not be able to cure depression or stop suicide but Emile Durkheim said that suicide rates remained the same in certain social groups every year, it was a constant, and it was because of their lack of ties to people and community. He believed this was due to lack of social ties between people, which can be mended through kindness.
If I can save just one person through kindness, then that is all I could ask for in this world. They don’t need to remember my name or face, nor this blog, but if one of my kind words can make even someone smile, then I feel like I have done my part in this world.