Confucius Jackie: One of the best things you can give someone

is acknowledgment.

To start off the new year, it is a tradition by many to come up with New Year’s Resolutions. Some are successful and some are forgotten. Popular resolutions are “I will go to the gym” or “I will be a better person” and those are more than fine. In fact, I started going to the gym more often in the last few months, and I aim to continue that routine for the rest of my life.

My resolution is to acknowledge people more often. When I write that, I don’t necessarily mean that the acknowledgement has to be made on a public forum. A simple “hey, how’s it going?” can really brighten a retail worker’s day. Next time you exit a store, look over your shoulder. If there’s someone there, hold the door open for him/her and flash a smile. Words don’t have to be exchanged; it’s the gesture that matters most. If you receive a text from someone, don’t put off your reply for a few hours. Your reply may mean the world to that person.

One thing that I have come to realize this year is that some people are not as happy as they seem. Work or social settings require that they put a smile on their face, but it’s not genuine, it’s not real. Working with dog rescues for the past few years has taught me that you can’t save everyone, but you can make a difference for at least one life. And you never know when you may influence that life.

So what I will strive to do is try to be a positive influence on others, keep my temper in check, be helpful, and remind myself that everyone has a story. Whenever we cross paths with other people, we take something away from those interactions. Make those positive regardless of how short those interactions are. Your smile, your simple hello, your hugs, your words, your actions impact people around you whether you see it or not. If you believe that what you do means nothing to anyone, you couldn’t be more wrong. All that is needed to show you how important you are to others and vice versa is acknowledgment. Remember that.

Go into 2014 a better person even if you don’t accomplish all your resolutions. Make this year better. All of my hugs and love to you all. Happy New Year!

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