What the World Needs Now

The body needs sustenance to digest and the brain needs ideas to process. What does the heart need?

Each of us seeks out the things that make us happy. What makes one person happy won’t be good enough for another, but we all seek the good things of life. The trick is finding an unending source of happiness.

The people we meet can potentially provide for our social nourishment. We look to others for comfort, help, and affection. If we are lucky, then we may find people who enjoy the responsibility of caring for others.

The Needy

Many people claim being happy is a decision. They will say feeling sad is just feeling sorry for yourself. That is easy to say for those who aren’t suffering.

People fail to recognize the difference between happiness and having a positive attitude. I will grant that we have the power to choose our own attitudes. Even when I am at my lowest I can see the good in whatever circumstance I am in. On the other hand, happiness needs to come from a real place. Happiness is a fire that needs to be stoked. The question is what we should use for fuel.

Here are two kinds of positivity we can offer:

1. Respect

Respect is the most basic form of positivity we can give to others. It is a general acknowledgment that other people deserve to be treated fairly and kindly. Everyone deserves respect.

I can list many things I don’t like. I remember all the people who have hurt me, friend and foe. Still, I wish them no ill will. I respect them. I want them to earn happiness for themselves. How cruel it would be for me to think some people are not justified in being happy!

Enough negativity exists in this world without me adding to it. Showing disrespect does not improve anything. I would rather be gracious to all than waste my days wishing more negativity on others.

2. Honor

Honor is a higher quality of respect. It is a special regard for those that stand out to us. Not everyone deserves to be honored.

Back home in Washington I had a small group of friends. One day, I came to visit one of them at their house. They had a group of their friends gathered in the living room. I wanted to play for them a piece of piano music I had been practicing for a class. I was only a few notes in when they went right back to talking to each other. They talked all throughout my playing.

I’ve made new friends since coming to Idaho. I was at my best friend’s apartment once and decided to sing to everyone there. They all stopped what they were doing and gave me their full attention as I sang a good number of songs for them. They even complimented me afterwards on how well I sang. What did I do to deserve such great friends?

We honor what we feel deserves our time and attention the most. Making people feel special requires us to lift them a little higher than we would others. Not everyone can earn first place. I have to decide which of my friends I will spend the majority of my time with and who I will see the least. Exclusion defines honor. It isn’t an honor to receive what everyone else has.

Malnourished

The heart suffers when it does not receive the necessary positivity. We become starved when the people we turn to are barren of respect and honor for us. No amount of positive attitude can make up for an absence of positive reinforcement.

Not just any positivity will be enough to sustain an individual. It takes the right kind. I respect any attempt from someone to brighten my day, but effort alone saves no soul. If you want to reach out to someone, then you need to do it in a way that will resonate with them. “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11)

It feels weird asking for respect and honor. We know what makes us happy, but it’s difficult when what we want depends on what other people are willing to give. People can be stingy on showing the smallest degree of respect. Even I am admittedly turned off by people coming to me desperate for friendship, attention, or recognition. However, I never turn my back on someone honestly seeking more good in their lives. I do what I can for them.

I never think about whether someone deserves respect or not. People need to be respected. And I take time to honor those I feel have worked a little harder and deserve a little recognition. The world becomes a better place for everyone when everyone is striving to make each other happy. I never look down on those who are brokenhearted. Instead, I strive to give them something to smile about.

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