Remember the Good.
To My Future Son or Daughter.
Every day you will encounter people in all sorts of moods and who are dealing with all sorts of their own concerns. Most of the time, the people you encounter will leave hardly an impression on you as you move throughout the rest of your day, and in the hours and days that follow, you they will fade from memory. And you from theirs.
Occasionally though, you will cross paths with someone right when they are at a breaking point. Or maybe they encounter you at yours. And as your personalities intersect, things may get frustrating or even downright ugly. They might say something rude to you, you might react and give them a piece of your mind, and things will spiral out from there. And then for the rest of the day, maybe for the rest of the week, and in some cases, long after, you will remember that one conversation. It’ll make your blood boil just as hard later as it did in the moment. And it won’t matter how great the rest of that day might have been; that one interaction will be all that you remember.
There is a reason this happens. Think of a route you drive every day, or a path you walk whenever you go out. You know where the twists and turns are, and you get accustomed to navigating it. But then one day, you hit a pothole that wasn’t there before. Or you get lost in your thoughts while you’re walking and you trip and fall. You’ll remember that moment with vivid clarity far more than you remember the hundreds of other times you’ve traveled that path without incident, because it is something that upsets the rhythm of what you have come to expect.
There is nothing wrong with getting aggravated at someone. And there is nothing wrong with feeling a little sting of aggravation when you remember it later. What you don’t want to do is carry it around with you every day. But that is a conversation for another time.
What I want to tell you right now is to make a point to remember the good people you meet every single day, or to remember a particularly good day you’ve had, even if it wasn’t necessarily out of the ordinary. It’s harder to remember people who make our lives easier because they don’t upset the rhythm of anything—they just make the rhythm go a lot smoother.
But make this a habit. Write it down if you have to. Because there will be days where everyone you meet will try your patience, and there will be days where you don’t have an umbrella and it starts to rain while you’re in between where you’ve been and where you’re going. On those days, it is helpful to remember people who have been good, so that you can be reminded that not everyone is out to get you. It is a wonderful thing to remember a sunny day, because it helps you to remember that the rain will eventually stop.
Tonight, I spoke with a man named Rich. I did some work for him a few years ago, and he called me recently to do some more. Over the past couple of weeks, his project has changed in scope, and tonight we talked for a bit to go over some of the details. Rich is a friendly, cheerful man. He has a lot of questions, but he has also done his due diligence to make sure that I have all the information I need to give him informed answers. He is kind, he is patient, and he is gracious with his time and with mine. I am making a point to remember the conversation I had with Rich tonight so that when I have tough customers sometime in the future, I won’t be discouraged, and I can remember that most people, most of the time, are not out to get me.
And I am remembering it so that I can tell you about it one day. Until then, I want you to remember the good people, remember the sunny days, and don’t let rude people, potholes, or pop-up showers ruin your week.
And above all else, remember that I love you.