Yesterday, I was chattering to my mother about how impressed I had been by this girl. She inspired me not as much by her talent but by the way she held herself; she had beautiful posture and a well-used smile. She inspired me with her quiet confidence. Then I had a sudden realization–I had never actually met this person. She had no idea who I was, and yet she had imprinted herself in my mind. The reality is that we influence an incredible amount of people that we will never meet, just by living. The way we act, even when we believe no one sees us and no one cares, matters. The reality is that you never know who’s watching, and that can either be terrifying or illuminating. We can be scared because the world sees so much of us or excited because no matter how small we are, we can influence people. By learning to be genuinely good people we can change lives without even knowing it. We don’t have to be on a stage to be seen; we can be in the audience.
I once had someone tell me that I changed his day simply when he looked at me because I smiled instead of turning away. A smile is such a simple thing, yet it communicates so much. One little thing can have an impact. If we aren’t comfortable living authentically we will tire out, and when we do, we risk giving people the real us, and that’s terrifying. But if we are living authentically already, we will never fear that our cover will be broken. There is no cover! Everyone has worried whether they’re good enough before. We wonder whether the real us is capable. We question whether people will dislike us if we give ourselves. But you can’t be anyone but yourself. There are people who love you. There are people that will care for who you really are–find those people.
We have a lot of ups and downs, but trying to be like everyone else will not fix anything because you are not like everyone else. Sometimes I worry that maybe I actually am the only one. I’ve just been fooling myself–no one can really understand. It’s easier to talk about hard things when you are holding it away from yourself, when you’re pretending to give advice instead of pouring yourself onto the page.
Be vulnerable; tell the truth; seek the truth. Then you can find the freedom of being authentic. The truth is that you do matter. You do make a huge difference. No matter what you do, you will make a difference. If you’re beautiful on the inside, you cannot help but be a light to others. If you are authentic, you will find freedom. And in your freedom, you will make a difference.