Building A Better World, One Smile At A Time

“Smile, for everyone lacks self-confidence and more than any other one thing a smile reassures them.”
Andre Maurois

Even dogs smile!

Edification is generally thought of in spiritual terms. It is mostly in the bible that I’ve seen it used. We have the ability to edify others through our words or actions. How often do we let those opportunities slip by?

Many people are natural edifiers. There are also many destructive or toxic people. Aren’t we all drawn to people who make us feel good about ourselves? I don’t mean puffed up about ourselves, but we do enjoy feeling worthy.

I know negative people, and I try to stay a way from them. It’s exhausting trying to help them see the positive side of life. If I spend too much time in that presence, I start feeling down, and then I take others down with me.

I recently encountered someone who continuously said bad things about others or accused them of doing wrong. I kept trying to point out the good qualities of the other people and tried to get the person to refocus. Sometimes, perspective is everything in understanding someone’s actions. However, when a person tears everyone else down to builds themselves up, I kind of think the problem lies therein. I couldn’t bring myself to outright call the person out. Would you have? Or would you have continued trying to turn the conversation around? Or would you have just given up?

Do you know what I’m speaking of when I say people pretend to be lifting others up but are actually tearing them down in the same breath? You know those kind of compliments…“You’re really smart to not have an important job.” or “You look really nice with all that weight you’ve put on.” Or they compliment you but up themselves one…“I enjoyed your get together. Just wait until you have as many friends as me and you throw parties all the time.” They might even say something as crass as “I don’t care what others say. I still like you.” Gee, thanks!

Some people build themselves up by treating others like they are less than them. One of the things that truly irks me is watching someone disrespect servers or cashiers. The manner in which people handle wait staff tells me all I need to know about their true character.

My youngest child once had a teacher who made it a point to let the entire class know she did not like football players. (Maybe she was dumped by a football player in high school?!) She deemed them all stupid. There were three football players in this class, and she pointed them out. Had she checked their records, she would have found that they were all gifted students. Instead she chose to pick them apart at every opportunity. The boys developed bad attitudes toward her. It finally got so bad that we ended up having to go to conference. She apologized for her comment, but nitpicked their papers for the rest of the year. (example: simple two point grammatical error was charged twenty points for the entire paragraph instead of the one sentence.) The boys felt defeated. They hated going to class and did not have a productive learning period. I am not defending the student’s attitudes, but she was the adult and had the power to reverse the situation. Had she chosen to reward them with positive feedback, their attitudes would have been much better.

I know that in dealing with small children, I get a better response on praising good behavior than I do pointing out bad behavior. People, no matter their age, like to feel good about themselves. I do realize that children like attention in any form, but shouldn’t adults be too mature for this?

Edification need not come only in the form of moral or spiritual guidance. We can build others up simply by the way we choose to live. When we smile at someone, we lift their spirits. We have the capability to edify others by complimenting them, hugging them, helping them, teaching them, and even by taking the time to listen to what they have to say. We edify others by letting them know they matter to us. Being there for others is an important part of edification.

Attitudes are contagious. If we lift others up, they’re more likely to go out and do the same. Do you ever tell military personnel thank you for their service to our country? Do you perform small acts of kindness to your neighbors? Do you tell the people in your family how important they are to you? I don’t do any of those things nearly as often as I should. In fact, it can be scary to put yourself out there…people might just think you’re crazy…or they might just pass it on.

46 thoughts on “Building A Better World, One Smile At A Time

  1. It’s funny. I have a neighbor who always wants to dish the dirt about other neighbors. I finally asked her to stop because it makes me very uncomfortable to talk about people in a negative way. She barely spoke to me for 6 months after that. I really don’t want to be told: who drinks too much/who is cheating on their wife/ who is cheating the insurance company/who has problem children. And I don’t kid myself, if she talks about everyone else to me, she talks about me to everyone else. Toxic.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject, Suzi. I have found that such naysayers don’t want to hear words of defense for their victims. I don’t have to listen long, because they seek other ears than mine. No, I don’t call them on their unkindness. I just refuse to support their efforts to defame another.

  3. “I know negative people, and I try to stay a way from them. It’s exhausting trying to help them see the positive side of life. If I spend too much time in that presence, I start feeling down, and then I take others down with me.”

    I am sooooooo with you, Suzi!

    I can honestly say, I am a happy person. At work, I always try to keep a postitive attutude and smile throughout my day. And do you know, I’ve had people get angry at me for this? People seem to enjoy misery loves company, so if you’re a positive person, they don’t like that. I’ve also been accused of being insincere because of the way in which I always compliment others. However, I’m not insincere in the least, because my feeling is this….you can always find something GOOD and POSTIVE to genuinely compliment someone about. There’s so much negativity in this world, and I refuse to get suck into it.

    Once again…..FAB post, Suzi! You always share such enlightening topics. Thank you!

    Have a super Tuesday!


    P.S. adorable photo!

  4. I definitely need to do more “good” things more often. Especially when it comes to smiling, loving, huggging, and acts of kindness. I get so busy. This is a great reminder and I appreciate you and your positive endorsement.


    Love the doggie smiling.

  5. Great post and so very true…too many people are so full of their own insecurities that they can only make themselves feel better by subtly putting other s down. I say subtly because they always seem to know where that boundary lies that would terminate the relationship and thus deprive them of keeping someone around that they use to make themselves feel better.

  6. The wingnuts are so rabid in their views against all possible evidence to the contrary is dismissed by them.Never waste your time trying to have an intelligent conversation. . For example at least pro/anti abortion people have an opinion based on reason but wingnuts never will. Another example is that they still scream the president is a Moslem and will never be convinced otherwise.

  7. When I’m around someone intent on sharing “dirt” on others, I steer the conversation in another direction. If they persist, I steer myself in another direction. 🙂

    And back handed compliments are the WORST!

  8. I don’t do it enough either. I think the best compliment one can get is one from a stranger, or someone who isn’t in their life every day. If my husband tells me I’m great, that’s nice and all, but it means less because he says it often. However, if someone else says it sincerely who I just met or don’t hear nice things from very often, the words seem to mean more to me. A nice reminder to extend kindness to others outside of my normal “circle.”

  9. This is a terrific post! The things we do for others need not be huge, but the impact they have could definitely make their day! I often say, the very least we can do is offer a smile. 🙂

  10. Yeah, I know one of those compliment-as-insult toads. She always prefaces it with, “Well Bless your heart…” and then goes in for the kill. Wench.

    That teacher had a heck of a chip on her shoulder. Ouch.

  11. You really struck a nerve with this topic. On the positive side, I recall a day I was floating on air because I’d gotten a highly complimentary call from a person high in the corporation, with the promise of a to-die-for project assignment (which, btw, never materialized, but that’s beside this point). I couldn’t tell a soul about the call, but my joy leaked out of every pore. Everyone I met on the way to a meeting responded with smiles. Happiness is contagious! Smiles are contagious.

    • Isn’t that a wonderful feeling? The dying to tell someone actually almost kills you, but the effects as the positivity touches everyone else is amazing…I love wonderful happy contagious moods!

  12. I have found that those kind of people don’t really change, so calling them out does very little good.

    I’ve really learned since becoming an adult to distance myself from those with negative energy too.

  13. I laughed with an outside voice when I saw the picture of the pupper! Such a comical photo for such a serious post. Yes, I’ve encountered people who seem to just suck the joy right out of a room with their comments to and about others. I find that most of the time, their comments stem from baggage they are lugging around from their childhood; and insecurities they’ve never dealt with. It’s sad when that happens. Sometimes I feel sorry for them. Sometimes I just want to get away from them quickly. Sometimes I really want to try and help, but then they speak to me and I want to hit them. :-/

  14. I knew someone that was always in need of a pick-me-up and it got to be very exhausting, to the point that I would screen my calls just to avoid the downer that was envitable to come.

    Then there is the one that talks bad about everyone, (I can’t avoid her) I just have to try to encourge her to find something nice to say about the person of topic for that day.

    • I had a friend like that. At the time I thought myself priviledged to be her friend…in time I realized otherwise and fortunately when I no longer gave her what she wanted, we drifted apart.

  15. I avoid negative people. When I can’t get away, I let them complain, but I don’t say anything. I won’t agree with them, validate their opinions or tell them their an idiot.

    Love the picture of the smiling dog, by the way. Just adorable 🙂

    • I avoid them, too. It gets tiring, doesn’t it? My dog is funny…always “smiles” when she lies on her back…ok, I think really her gums just fly back! But she is always happy!

  16. I don’t think I would have called them out either. I applaud you for putting up with it as long as you did. I would have given up I think although we both know some people can be very persistent with their negativity…. Love you. I’m happy you are NOTone of the negative nellies….

  17. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes it is not worth the effort. I USED to try no matter what, I used to call people out, but now I have decided that it is too stressful. So I sort of have a working plan, if I am not going to see the person again or only see them once in awhile, I just let them be. If I am going to see them more often and have to listen to their trash talk, I might work on letting them know that trashing people to make themselves feel better is not how I roll. So I have to see them and they have to do it more than once. I have to understand that this is not just a “bad day” talking.

    If we are going to hang out, I don’t want listen to that all the time and you need to know how I am. But if we aren’t going to hang out and I am not going to have to listen to it and we are not going to be close friends it would just be me telling you what to do. Ya know? If we are gonna be friends we will be able to work it out.

    FYI I am very respectful of servers because I KNOW there is no way I could do that. I could not be on my feet all day serving people with a smile and keep track of all that they have to keep track of. You have to be very incompetent to EARN a 15% tip with me otherwise you get 20%!

    When I have the opportunity I tell military AND THEIR FAMILES that I appreciate their service. Even though the families aren’t in the military they are also making HUGE sacrifices!

      • Some people you can just shrug off, but some people you might be stuck with and just because THEY are miserable doesn’t mean they can be allowed to make you miserable. Sometimes ya gotta call ’em out! 🙂

        Support the troops (and their families)!

        Hugs to you, Dear!

  18. This is excellent. Suzicate, there are truly toxic people in the world and in our lives. I’ve decided to walk away and focus my energy on people who are authentic and uplifting. I’m not asking to be around people who are always happy, but around those who are willing listeners and can be honest, but diplomatic about their criticisms. I so agree about people who treat wait staff unkindly. I cannot forge a meaningful relationship with someone who chooses to berate a stranger. It is unacceptable in my eyes.

    • I think it is important to be around people of like minds and common kindness. We can only do so much…if people choose to be negative, we can choose to not associate. I truly believe we should treat others the way in which we wish to be treated.

  19. very beautiful and wise suggestions suzi. in life’s span we come across all sort of people, when we meet these negative people and realize their negative effects on others – we should be cautious that we never do the things that they do.

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