THE IMPORTANCE OF EVERYDAY PEOPLE
It’s a mistake that we all make. We think that we have to be good looking, or a great athlete, or one of the smartest around...or sport an impressive tattoo or live in a big house to be valued by others. We think that we must excel in some way in order for others to think we are special and “a cut above” the rest. But, in reality none of these things make us important.
So, what does? The short answer is…the level of goodness our life imparts.
You can make more friends in two months
by becoming really interested in other people,
than you can in ten years
by trying to get other people interested in you.
"Everyday" People Are So Important
We don’t often stop to consider how important we really are and the potential we have to be even more so. “I’m just an everyday person,” you say. “There’s nothing that significant about me.” Well, you’re wrong about that. You may not be "a world champion" but you can be of great importance to many people…family, friends, and strangers too.
We come in contact with many people during a typical day . . . ordinary, everyday people as we have defined them here. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate just how important these everyday people really are. Wonderful people who greet us at church, nice neighbors who help us in special ways, friends at school who offer an encouraging word, associates at work who help us get things done, nice ladies who wait on us at the cleaners, the man who sacks our groceries at the store, the nice.. . .
. . .well, you get the point. It’s everyday people like these who make such a difference in our lives—who greet us, who help us, and who make us feel special in so many ways.
Many times, we don’t recognize the importance of our role as one of these everyday people. We are typically more concerned about ourselves than about how important we can be in the lives of others. Yes, there are so-called “special people” such as movie stars and professional athletes, but typically they are not that important to you and me. It’s those everyday people who really make our lives enjoyable and worthwhile.
Our Role as an "Everyday" Person
As we go about our roles as one of these everyday people, here are three things to keep in mind:
#1 Life’s about how we make others feel
There are no secrets here. Our importance to others depends almost solely on how we make them feel. Such feelings can develop from chance encounters, from time spent with family members, from special occasions with friends or business associates, and even from our interactions with store personnel as we run our errands each day. Every contact we have with someone, however insignificant it may seem, provides us with an opportunity to make someone feel special, to show we care about them, and appreciate what they do for us. Barbara De Angelis, author of How to Make Love All the Time, explained it this way:
Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.
#2 Our lives are transformed from ordinary to extraordinary by what we do for others
You can be so important to others if you will reach out and touch their lives in your own special way. It may be as simple as offering a nice smile or a word of encouragement to someone. It may be offering free tutoring to a struggling student or buying lunch for someone in need. It may be volunteering to help with a special project in your community. It could be one of hundreds of ways you could make a difference in someone’s life. Yes, it takes extra effort to do these things, but the impact of those efforts can make a major difference in the lives of others and in your life as well.
Somewhere along the way, we must learn
that there is nothing greater than to do something for others.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
#3 You can be as important as you choose to be
It may sound silly right now, but it’s true . . . you can become one of the most important people in the world to someone around you. It depends on your choices and how you make them feel when you interact with them.
When someone knows you truly care about them, your importance in their life increases significantly. And creating such feelings is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s an opportunity we have several times each day.
The Other Key: Be Yourself
We frequently compare ourselves to others…she’s prettier, he’s a better athlete, they are smarter, and on it goes. When we look at people who do some things incredibly well, we tend to see ourselves as average and don’t consider how important we can really are or can be.
But the truth is…being pretty, being a good athlete or even being smart has little or nothing to do with how important we are to others. Instead, as pointed out above, it’s almost all about how we make others feel…if we are friendly, nice and if we are helpful to someone, they could care less how pretty or smart we are.
So the key to being important to others is first and foremost to be yourself. Never pretend you are something or someone you are not. Then it’s a matter of making the personal choices that allow you to be or become a friendly, nice and helpful person.
You and I may not be movie stars or professional athletes or wealthy people, but we can be one of those so very important everyday people. And what would the world be like without people like that?
By Michael L. Nelson and Chris Peppel
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