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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We Affect The People Around Us

I wonder sometimes if many people contemplate the fact that they are affecting, either negatively or positively, every person they encounter during their day. If you've made eye contact with someone, then you've affected them in some way.

I'm not saying that you've changed their lives forever necessarily, but maybe you have changed the course of their day, and in turn the course of their lives. Here's an example of what I'm talking about (and I suppose now, thinking about it further, it's a little bit of the Butterfly Effect being applied):

A man is walking along the sidewalk, and he's thinking about how horribly his relationship with his daughter is going- they haven't been able to stop fighting lately and he's starting to think:

"maybe teenage girls are all just terrible individuals, heartless, and self-centered....I'll never be able to get along with her the way I want to."

At that moment, walking toward him, nearly a block in the distance, comes a teenage girl who is approximately the age of his own daughter. The man is so very caught up in his frustrated thought pattern that he doesn't see the edge of the sidewalk, which he trips over, just to land on his knees.

It was a stumble, nothing was broken, and he wasn't too worried about it. Although, when the teenage girl sees what had happened, she thinks of her cherished grandmother who had recently fallen and broken her hip. She runs over to see if the man is okay and asks if he needs to borrow her cell phone to call someone to drive him home. She is honestly concerned for him.

The man is grateful for the girl's concern for his well-being, but refuses the cell phone. He gets up, brushed his knees, says "thank you," and for the rest of his walk he is thinking about how genuinely helpful that girl was, and how most teenage girls are probably very helpful.

He doesn't even contemplate that before he fell he was mad with his own daughter: he is not aware that he had been thinking negatively about his own relationship.

Because he is now content with the idea of teenage girls being caring, he treats his own daughter differently and with more compassion. Because of his compassion, his daughter shows him the same level of respect that he is now showing her. She doesn't want to fight with him, and she never has wanted to fight with him.

If the girl on the sidewalk had only walked by the man, not seeming to care that he was hurt, the man may not have had the opportunity to think differently about his own situation. Neither the girl nor the man were necessarily conscious of the affect their presence was having on the other, and maybe they never will be conscious of it.

What's important is that we're conscious of the role we are playing in the world, simply by the way we encounter the other people in the world.

It is my hope, that if you don't realize that every interaction you are having with people is wholly affecting the thoughts they are thinking about their own lives, that you open up to the idea and see it begin to take shape in your own life and in the lives of the people you encounter daily.

Have fun being you because you're a wonderful you!

Water Fountain Picture- Beacon Hill Park, Victoria BC

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