I always choose to be the bigger person. I choose not to take vengeful action; I let karma handle the dirty work and forgive them instead. I choose to be kind, even when the other person chooses not to be. I choose to smile, even when it takes every ounce of energy I have in my body to bite my tongue or keep from punching someone square in the face. And this philosophy has always paid off for me. Maybe not at first, but in the end, it has always been the best decision I could have made.
This approach has its share of downfalls, I assure you. I am left vulnerable. I get taken advantage of. I get hurt. I don’t always get what I deserve or what is “fair” in a situation. But in the end, I always win. I don’t have a single enemy. Some people might not like me, sure. Lots of people think I am “too much” or even annoying (Hell, even I think that about myself sometimes). But even those people tell me I am magnetizing and that they are drawn to me and can’t explain why. So many people bare their souls to me, sometimes within hours of meeting me, and can’t understand why they would tell a perfect stranger things they’ve never told their closest friends. Even the people I have hurt in the past (because no one is perfect) still have some pretty wonderful things to say about me. I’ll tell you why: because in spite of my flaws, I have a damn good heart.
I am genuine, and loyal at any cost. I am honest to a fault: I will always tell you the truth— even when you don’t want to hear it, and even when it is not in my best interest to tell it. And—perhaps most important of all— I really, honestly, genuinely care about people. Even when it hurts. Even when they don’t care about me. Even when they don’t deserve it. Even when I would be better off leaving them behind. I help people whenever I can, just because I can. Not because of what they can do for me in return, or for any other selfish reasons. About 90% of the good deeds/favors I do for others are never returned. And that’s okay. Of course it would be nice to have someone treat me the same way, but the truth is I don’t expect it. People are generally flawed, and selfish. They almost always think of themselves first. It is human nature. I am the anomaly, especially in this currently growing culture of IDGAF and “Zero fucks given.” I care too much about others, and what they want, and what they think. I always put others first. Everyone tells me I’m stupid for it. But I think it’s what makes me a good person.
And this is why I don’t have enemies. Like anyone else, people come in and out of my life. Relationships break up, friendships dissipate, people just outgrow their relationships and move on. But hindsight is 20/20, and so eventually, everyone always figures it out. Who was good for them, and who wasn’t. The people they’re glad to be rid of and the ones they regret letting slip away. And no matter how the original relationship went, I tend to be the latter. I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have come back years later just to tell me: “You’re a really good person, you know that? There are not very many people like you in the world.” My response is always the same. Some version of “Yes, I know. Thank you.” Countless stories end this way, and while I am grateful just the same for their latent realization, truth be told, I wish that people would see it earlier. I wish that my kindness and good-hearted nature wouldn’t be taken for granted when it’s there, only to be appreciated in my absence.
Again, I am aware that my outlook on this may not be yours. I have had numerous conversations with numerous people and most of them cannot understand why I put others’ needs before my own, why I sacrifice my happiness for that of others, why I don’t get jealous, why I am still friends with my exes, why I continue to show love and kindness for people who have wronged me or loyalty to those who have betrayed me…The list goes on. To that I say: All I have in this world are my experiences and the relationships I make. They are the only thing I can take with me when I leave this earth. Why fill them with jealousy and hatred and spite, when I can fill them with love and kindness instead? Life is too short to hold onto grudges. They anchor you to the floor. Learn to forgive and you will see how much your heart soars. Malice in a heart can be crippling, but it only hurts the person who holds it.
It’s not always the easiest path, but I challenge you: Let go of your malice. Choose kindness. Choose love. Choose well wishes over grudges. Choose honest words over empty words. Choose to smile instead of fight. Choose to make others happy, as well as yourself. Choose to make friends not enemies. But most importantly, take a moment to make a note of the good hearts around you, and choose to appreciate them, before it’s too late. Choose to care. And make the world a better place by choosing to show it.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not." -Dr. Seuss