“It was impossible to dislike him – he acted like everybody he met had a big sign around their neck saying, ‘Please make me feel important.’”
At the recent funeral of a simple and humble man, I marveled at the things people said about him. Each person truly believed he or she had been his favorite! The words that seemed to describe his entire life could be boiled down to these—kind, gentle, patient.
I work in a profession where people spend a lot of money for self-help books, for self-improvement strategies and for anything to gain an edge. People will do most anything to have others like them more, to make more money, to get the promotion, to be first at everything.
Yet how much better would our daily lives be if we all incorporated those simple words into our choices and behaviors—kind, gentle, patient?
Coming from a family with four siblings, I have to admit I enjoy getting the last word and I’m about as patient as a starving coyote in a fenced yard of small, sleeping animals. We all live in a world where it often seems we have to fight for everything and where nice people always lose.
As I listened though to the wonderful tributes to this man by his children, in-laws and grandchildren, I couldn’t help but be amazed. I wondered how different our world would be if we were all a little more like him.
How would our workplaces be different if we went to work each day determined to be kind, gentle, patient? How would our relationships change? What would it really look like?
I know what would be different for me. It would mean not saying everything I think. It would mean not taking it personally when others seem cross or short, remembering that we are all fighting hard battles. It would mean not getting upset when someone jumps in front of me or doesn’t do something as quickly as I want them to.
It would be a game changer for me. And it’s free!
How about you? What would be different today if you simply chose to be kind, gentle, patient?
Dorian Leigh Quillen, M.Ed., LPC (firstname.lastname@example.org), is a licensed professional counselor and author specializing in life strategies and resilience. Her book, “Class Act—Eight Young People Who Turned Tragedy into Triumph,” is available at www.amazon.com