Bring joy to other people’s lives

Kelsey Henninger

Have you ever gotten dirty looks for laughing too loud at a restaurant? Has anyone ever cut you off in traffic, and you thanked him or her by waving one finger?

Last Friday I watched the movie “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to tell you the meaning of life.

At one point in the movie, Carter Chambers (Freeman) tells Edward Cole (Nicholson) that the ancient Egyptians were asked two questions at the gates of heaven.

The first was: Have you found joy in your life?

And the second was: Have you brought joy to others’ lives?

The second question made me think about how mean complete strangers can to be one another.

I thought about strangers and how they view me. I wonder if I bring joy or misery to people I do not know.

It’s the simple things like smiling at someone on the street or asking people if they need help carrying their groceries to their car. These are ways to extend a little cheer.

Can you remember a time you were in a hurry and bumped into someone on the sidewalk? This complete accident can turn into a huge quarrel if the one you bumped into is not accepting or understanding of the incident.

It’s as though society is negative toward situations instead of positively embracing unknown situations.

There’s no need to overreact in situations because you can increase or start more problems for the stranger.

I’ve noticed when people are having a bad day, we are more likely to notice their criticism and pessimistic attitude toward their surroundings. You may not even know the person who is having a bad day, but their griping can still trigger your own negative thoughts about the day.

A grumpy attitude has a domino effect. When someone treats you poorly for no reason, we take offense and establish an equally negative defensive response.

On the other hand, if someone is having a good day we hardly notice. People rarely voice their positive attitude towards life.

I seldom hear, “Wow, I am having a great day.” However, drones of “I hate my life” or “nothing is going right” surround me in every public place.

Do you bring joy to others’ lives?

I feel our society does not try to help better everyone’s life. We will keep others down so we can succeed. We do not rejoice in others’ successes, but instead we wallow in jealousy.

It seems Americans only extend uplifting spirits to those in desperate need. It takes a catastrophe, like a devastating hurricane, to bring Americans together. We should be increasing our happiness daily by spreading joy to others. Do not bring others down to boost your happiness. Try to put yourself in their shoes. How would you make your day better? Extend a helping hand to a stranger in hope of recieving one when you’re down.

Kelsey Henninger is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. You can contact her at [email protected].