The Gift of You

Post date: Dec 15, 2015 11:41:23 PM

It's a Wonderful Life is a movie I didn't appreciate until fairly recently in my life. It always seemed like a boring, old, black-and-white film that paled compared to flashier Christmas fare. Perhaps it wasn't until I gained more experience in life that I truly began to understand the importance of the film's message, which is that we all make a difference and the world wouldn't be the same without any of us.

This is a concept I've been wrestling with in my mind a lot lately, and I'm trying to focus my efforts on how I can have a positive impact on those around me. Perhaps this idea has hit closer to home for me now that I'm a parent and I want to ensure that I do the best I can to provide my children with not only a loving home, but the confidence and ability to make choices and decisions that don't have detrimental effects on their lives, not to mention the lives of those around them.

But I can only truly control myself, and the most I can hope to do is positively influence those around me. For instance, I can't force my kids to act in a respectful manner while at school, but through my influence, hopefully they will realize being respectful is the proper way to conduct themselves, and they will act in such a fashion accordingly. That said, what is "right" for me is not always "right" for everyone else, and this is something I'll have to remember as my children get older and start finding their own places on the world.

I'm trying to extend the idea of positively influencing those around me to every aspect of my life. There is already so much negativity in the world that I don't want to add to it. Of course, I'm not perfect and am only human, so I will undoubtedly have periods in which I, too, am a source of negativity, yet I hope to at least catch myself in these situations and make adjustments.

And though I'm approaching this outlook in terms of "positivity" and "negativity," I am also starting to understand that life isn't as simple as "good" or "bad." What may be a "good" situation for me may be "bad" for someone else. That is, if I were to be offered a promotion at work, that would be "good" for me, but it would be "bad" for the individuals that weren't offered the job. So, I'm attempting to make sure that what I deem as having a positive impact is, in fact, not having the opposite effect.

We also need to realize that when something "bad" happens to us, the intention of those contributing to it may actually be to do "good." It's far too easy to extend the "good" or "bad" idea to people, but as with life experience, people just are who they are. When someone does something "bad," I believe it's worth considering what led them to the situation in which such decisions and actions were made. This is a tough concept in light of all the terrible acts humans often do to one another, but having some understanding of the reasons why such acts were committed may lead to solutions to prevent them from occurring again.

It's sometimes overwhelming and it can cause one to feel helpless. Ultimately, the most we can do is be ourselves and do the best we can at contributing to making the small world around us a better place, which will likely help make the larger world around us to a better place as well. We all have something unique and worthwhile to offer, as we are all complex, multifaceted beings.

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and every moment is a result of the countless causes and conditions which infinitely bind us together. Everything we do impacts everyone else, whether in some small or large way, and whether we see it or not. Well all have a gift to offer to everyone else, and that is our ability impact those around use. Let's use this gift well, and be the best we can be. Let us be mindful of how we are impacting others, and try to make our influences positive. The world would not be the same without you or me, and we can all help one another with our gift of existence.