“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”Roger Ebert
When I read this quote from the late film critic, I thought the entire thing could be summed up in his words we must try. There are instances of people making others “less happy” on my radar every day. What I believe to be true is that many of these people are not doing so intentionally.
They say “hurt people hurt people,” and that undoubtedly plays a role here. At least some of that innate need to draw focus to the negative is likely based on areas of lack for the speaker, probably in the form of trauma. That’s not an excuse, it’s a path to better understanding.
“We must try to contribute joy to the world” is a hard ask for someone with a lifetime of experiences that don’t involve notable amounts of joy. I like to think I’m an example of what can happen when someone turns that sort of life upside down by spreading as much love and compassion as I can. It’s what I lacked for the early part of my life and I want to avoid anyone feeling that empty, worthless, and alone.
Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.