Meeting people, hearing their stories, sharing a moment and leaving a positive mark on their lives.
There’s a branch of philosophy that believes that the world only exists within our minds. That the people around us are merely figments of our imagination. As crazy as this thought is, to some degrees, we human beings all live at least a little selfishly, absorbed in our own worlds. For example, thanks to a psychological phenomenon known as special pleading, we are prone to judging others by how their actions affect us while we only judge our own intentions.
Because of this human nature, we often forget one simple fact: each and every person that you see around you has a life of their own. That person that you accidentally bumped into has a name, a job, a family (maybe). He or she will have hobbies and interests, goals and dreams, experiences and memories.
Of course, it’s understandable that your brain tends to ignore this simple fact on a routine basis. The poor bugger has to process an overload of sensory and cognitive information every nanosecond, and if it was to consider every little details of everything, your head might just explode. But that’s no excuse to not think about it every now and then. You know, just ponder the implications.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about the world, it’s that each person has a very unique story to tell. They are walking books that are in the process of being written into a grander, more epic tale by the day. You’d be surprised what kind of stories you hear from complete strangers. One of the reasons I wanted to go into medicine was to hear all the stories every patient had to tell. I am reminded of this fact every day in the hospital. I’ve met old men who survived wars, kids who’ve suffered more diseases than you would in three lifetimes and even an old lady who gave the best tips on how to cook fish (which I’ve sadly forgotten…). Point is, if you take the time to stop and have a chat, you might hear some amazing stories that put movies and books to shame.
I think one of the greatest joys we can experience as human beings is really opening up to someone, getting to know who they are and showing them who you are to them. Memories, stories, values, dreams, opinions, humour, all that jazz. It might be crazy to think that the world only exists in our heads, but it’s not at all crazy to think that everyone’s perspective of the world is very different. When you share a bond with another person, it’s like connecting those two different worlds. Yup, getting to know a person is like opening a wormhole between dimensions. What that’s pretty cool right. The best part is that this could happen between two lovers who’ve known each other for ten years, or even between two people that happened to meet by chance an hour ago. That’s human interaction I guess. It’s not about the amount of time you’ve spent with them. It’s about the quality of the time you shared with them. Opening wormholes and stuff.
My last point is to do with leaving a mark. It’s one thing to be aware that the person that’s in front of you is a unique life of their own, it’s another to be conscious of the role you play in their story. For example, a compliment you paid in passing might completely change the person’s day. A simple act of kindness you thought nothing of could be recorded in someone’s life book as a life-changing event.
I said at the start that we judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. Well then, by that logic, once you pass away the only thing that will be left to affirm your existence will be recordings of you in other people’s life books. So consider the mark you leave. Even a smile can make a difference.
I’ll end my 30 day challenge with a quote I particularly like regarding human interactions, by a certain Mr. Rogers:
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” ~ Mr. Rogers
May your life be full of little, simple pleasures 🙂