I try to be nice to everyone. I put this one first because I feel it is the most important guideline. You know, the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” thing. It costs me nothing to be nice to people. It can be as simple as a “Good morning” when I first see them each day. Be nice to everyone, especially those that aren’t nice to you. It might just bring them around.
I make an effort to respect others. Respect is essential because it demonstrates that I value the dignity of someone else as a human being. Everyone deserves my respect no matter their station in life. From a homeless person to a fast food worker to the CEO of a company. I don’t know their story but they may be doing the best they can.
I attempt not to gossip. There are many, many reasons why talking about others is troublesome but it still occurs frequently. Sometimes gossiping can be tempting especially if it is about someone you don’t like and from time to time it is very hard to not pass this around, but don’t give in. We’ve all been the victim of gossip but we still talk about others. It’s a vicious cycle and it needs to stop. So make the choice to have gossip end with you.
I endeavor to drive carefully. This is not just for me but for my family and everyone else on the road. Also I don’t drive when I shouldn’t, like when I am angry. Texting or talking on a cell phone is not only against the law, it is just plain stupid. Don’t do it.
I donate to the less fortunate. This makes me feel good. Donating to a charity anonymously is one of the best feelings in the world. I have honestly found in life that the most generous people I met were the ones with the least to share. When I lived in Massachusetts, I lived in a WPA housing development where everyone there was either on some kind of financial assistance or living on a low income. Nobody ever went hungry there because everyone would share their food allotment with everyone else. They would also have a monthly food “swap” where they would trade what they wouldn’t use for something they would.
I tried to help others whenever I could. I used to shovel their snow and help with odd jobs. You might not know just who could use help unless you ask. Some people are too proud to ask for help. I would snow blow my entire block when I was younger. I figured I was already out there and it didn’t take me much longer to snow blow 10 front sidewalks as it did to do just mine. Besides, it was just the neighborly thing for me to do.
I always provided a good example for my children. Your children will learn how to act as adults by watching how you act. For most children, the most important role models are their parents, grandparents or caregivers that have a regular presence in their lives. Your children will see their example, either positive or negative, as a pattern for the way life is to be lived.
I try to listen more than I talk. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, myself included. The most rudimentary of all human desires is the need to be heard and understood. The greatest way to appreciate people is to pay attention to them. Sometimes just listening to someone will prove to be therapeutic to them especially if they are going through a hard or difficult time.
I never offer advice unless I am asked. Sometimes people just need to vent and are not asking for advice. If you offer advice at this point chances are it will be ignored. If they ask for advice, be as diplomatic as you can be and instead of saying “Do this” or “Do that”, say “If I were you I would think about doing this or that.” You could also guide the person asking for advice by saying maybe they could look into getting help with their problem, asking how they think they can fix the problem or suggest someone who they might call that could help them.
I love as much as I can. There is just too much hate in the world. Hate will eat you up inside and make you a bitter person. I’m not talking about sexual love but the love brought about by kindness and generosity. By loving one another we can get much more done to improve the world.
I appreciate life. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn’t here yet. As the saying goes “carpe diem” or seize the day. Live in the moment. Be thankful for every day on Earth. It is a blessing not everyone gets. Play more, laugh more, forgive more and try to see the good in everything. Remember every cloud has a silver lining. I could tell you about how food poisoning saved my life but that is a story for another time.
Norb is a frequent contributor. He can be reached at email@example.com.