When I was younger, whenever I was asked ‘what do you want to be when you’re older?’ I always answered ‘Someone who makes a positive difference’. So, I made that my mission! I volunteered at my local youth centers and became a qualified youth worker, I mentored other young people and tutored them through their GCSE’’s and A-Levels, I created photography exhibition and toured the country speaking about and advocating around young people’s mental health and much more!
Don’t get me wrong, that is all amazing and I value the experiences more than anything else in the world. But, in hindsight, in order to accomplish my ‘mission’ of causing positive change, I didn’t have to do any of that! I think we have this idea in our heads that in order to be a ‘good person’ we need to go above and beyond to support as many people as possible in as many ways as possible. Again, this image is in no way wrong and I would push everyone reading this to live by that whenever possible, but what I’m trying to get at is; there are so many small things that are mostly misrepresented as insignificant such as merely smiling at someone in the street as you walk by or holding the door open for someone.
I can be having the worst day in the world, but if a single person smiles at me as I walk by, I may not even realise at the moment, but that gives me a second of happiness and in many instances, it is very much needed. We all have no idea what the people we walk by on the street are going through and so any way that you could make anyone’s day even slightly better will make a much bigger positive impact than you probably realise.
You may be reading this and thinking, well I have to wear a mask and can’t smile at people, and this was really hard for me to overcome when I started wearing a mask as smiling at people is actually a pretty big part of my day! But, I promise you, people can still tell! Even if you still don’t think they can compliment their mask or the colour of their eyes! That might be a little more ‘complicated’ than a simple smile but these things truly can flip someone’s day around completely!
So, what I want you all to take from this is that you don’t have to be a superhero or really outgoing to have a HUGE positive impact, and this doesn’t mean that you can’t be more active in your impact, I think it’s just worth realising the small things you can do that make a big difference.
Finally, like pretty much everything else we talk about here about how to treat other people, is an opportunity for you also to improve your relationship with yourself! At the end of the day, looking back on all of the small things you did in the day to improve someone else’s day can be an amazing exercise that I would really recommend! It will help you realise how amazing you are and even identify the small things that other people do to improve your day too!