By Scott Cremeans
I am a ridiculously nice man. I know this. Until… The following is a true story.
My Google Home device: *ding* I have a reminder for Scott
Me: Hey, Google, what’s up?
My Google Home: I have a reminder called you have a doctor’s appointment in 4 days.
Me: thank you, Google.
My Google Home: thank you for thanking me. I guess we are in a thanks loop…
I think I broke my Google home device.
I believe that the key to happiness is genuinely twofold. First, you must wear a smile and have gratitude for everything in life, no matter if it is big or small. This attitude means that no matter what happens keep a positive outlook, and always have a sparkling sunny disposition. When you need help, and you will require assistance, people will be willing to assist you if you are gloriously glowing. Grumpy Gus’s get a bitter rejection when support is needed the most, so no sourpuss faces on your mug.
My experience shows that most people fear those who are different as we fit into the others category. Individuals who walk with a wobble, use canes, forearm crutches, or even use wheelchairs get shunned and chagrined. Those of us who ambulate using these methods the ambassadors of the disabled, meaning we need to put our best foot forward. We need to prove that we should not be rejected and neglected but deserve the same respect as everyone else.
The second part is subjective yet more critical, in my opinion, which is to help people before they ask for any assistance. To insert true happiness into the mess that we call society, I say pay it forward by helping others even when they cannot help you back. Asking is the hardest part of needing, so if we can step up, stand out to show that we care for a stranger, it makes us better people. Keep in mind that you do not have to do anything outside of your comfort zone. The list of volunteering options is just as long as the non-volunteering items that are desired. A kind word, an offer to do the dishes, a ride, a smile, and these seemingly simple stunts may seem silly but may mean the world to the recipient.
When I was growing up, my family was lower-middle class, although we were a hair’s breadth away from being poor. Our family held onto the title of the lower-middle class like it was the last Twinky at a Weight Watchers meeting. My mother, who was a single parent, worked a full-time job and went to college, so we rode that tightrope between poor and poor-ish for seven years.
We were low-income, but I had no idea what being poor genuinely meant until I met some genuinely poor people in high school. I was not afraid to make friends with anyone, including the people that were shunned and socially shamed because of their appearance and clothing. I made good friends with those who were the real impoverished individuals in high school. Freshman through the senior year were the years that it was most difficult for a kid to hide the family financial stance. So I had both rich and poor friends though I learned the most about life and the real meaning of friendships from those with the least.
I learned from seeing this downtrodden lifestyle and saw how my friends did not work so that their parents could do so. Most days, they needed to watch their younger siblings because their parents could ill-afford decent childcare. I quickly realized that when we were going to eat fast food, they could not buy food for lunch. I did not want them to feel bad and look needy if I only bought food for them. The solution was to simply pay for the group as to not single out the neediest amongst us. It felt good to do good for others without making them feel embarrassed or ashamed for not being able to contribute financially. This action was done with no expectation of payback, thus began a life of utilizing opportunities to pay it forward or daily acts of kindness.
My mom tells me that I am merely leading by example, and yet I genuinely hope that people are willing to follow suit. I understand that not everyone can afford to do a lot, but little acts of kindness make a difference in this bitter filled world. So the next time that you are out at your favorite coffee place to buy a coffee for a stranger or do some other random act of kindness. I guarantee you that it will make them feel good, but it will give you a great feeling as well. On the other hand, if someone does something kind for you, be gracious to say thank you and consider paying it forward.
“Be the change in the world that you want to see.” – Gandhi.
*Scott Cremeans lives in Central Ohio. He is a US Marine who was diagnosed with RRMS in 2001 at the age of 27. Scott has successfully managed his MS symptoms on his own with his faith, friends, and humor. You can read more about his MS journey by visiting his blog www.myramblings.blog where he muses about life in the slow lane with his literary wit.