You are kind. You are smart. You are important.
Those famous words from The Help are beautiful reinforcements of self-worth.
But I’ve been thinking a better mantra might be … You are kind. You are smart. Everyone is important.
It’s been on my mind ever since I overheard that man on the escalator say: “That whole Syria thing … I don’t see a problem, I just see Muslims killing Muslims.”
How can anyone think someone’s life is less important because of their religion … or the colour of their skin … or their address … or the blood that runs through their veins?
How do people blithely stride through life and never regret their lack of compassion?
Back in 2012 I wrote a blog about regret after I lost my job for calling out a magazine when it printed lies about a friend.
I noted that I believed I’d done the right thing (perhaps in a hasty and ill-considered fashion) then listed stuff I wished I HAD done differently …
I’d have dropped the surly teenager act every time my great-grandmother tried to engage me in conversation.
I wouldn’t have kissed that 16-year-old boy with no front teeth at the school disco.
I’d have gone to see a dying man instead of putting it off.
I’d have skipped a few ill-advised bedfellows.
I wouldn’t have bought a quarter of a crumbling sandstone mansion during a nesting frenzy.
I’d have believed in myself more when times got tough.
Four years later those wishes still stand, with a few extras like sorting out the issues in my marriage – and myself – a little earlier.
I also wish that regret didn’t cast such a long shadow over my life. A misplaced word can lead to hours of insomnia – I’ve probably headed a little to far towards the other end of the spectrum.
My Christmas wish is for everyone to be somewhere closer to the middle, erring towards caring a little more rather than a little less.
Be kind. Be smart. Believe everyone is important.
Give your lonely great-grandmother a few minutes of your time. Don’t let fear and being “busy” put you off seeing a dying friend. Give yourself a break when it comes to the little regrets and try to live a life without big ones.
Song of the day: Edith Piaf “Non, je ne regrette rien”