Choosing patience, kindness and engagement with others instead of judgment, apathy or disdain is just like choosing NOT to honk our horn when the person in front of us doesn’t see the green light. It’s the same as choosing compassion instead of anger or frustration when the baby on the plane won’t stop crying. These choices bring about the best version of ourselves. And it’s the version we like.
It takes practice and repetition. It takes being cognizant and showing empathy for others who may be struggling with things we know nothing about: loneliness, lack of friendship, physical or mental ailments, addiction, and depression to name but a few. And, conversely, it also means being genuinely happy for others when good things are happening in their lives because we know in our hearts that we have enough, and that we are enough.
Joy, happiness, and self-respect comes directly from the series of choices we make each day. When we understand that our life, our health, and our relationships are gifts, we can practice being the best versions of ourselves. We can then quietly pay our goodwill forward. It’s recognizing that sometimes, the opportunity to be true to who we are (and who we want to be) might come in small moments, as it did for me in that thrift store the other day. When we choose to be our best, true self, in whatever form that takes, we find that our constant search for self respect and happiness turns into simply being quietly confident and happy.
It is then that who we present to the world shifts from a mere version of ourselves, to who we actually are, instead.