I want people to be happy. 

In my leadership class on a Thursday afternoon in this early semester, we were asked: “What is something in your life that is most important to you and why?” 

We were supposed to discuss our answers with our small group that we will be working with for the entire semester. Most people would answer this question with specific people, like their parents, siblings, extended family, friends, etc. Or some would name their most prized possession. 

However, I did not answer this question with a specific person or object. One of my main goals in life is to make other people happy, and that is truly one of the most important things to me.  

I feel as though this world is filled with so much unnecessary negativity and violence. There are people out there who think it is acceptable to degrade another human being behind their backs based on their appearance, their mannerisms, the extracurricular activities they may be involved in, who they choose to be friends with, or what sport they play. 

The worst part could be that the person who is being put down can find out all the hateful things being said about them when they are not watching. Sometimes, these words can lead to self-doubt.  

I experience a lot of self-doubt myself. To get out of the dark hole, I like to send texts to my friends just to let them know how much they mean to me or I like to write my friends and family letters because it lifts me up. Handwritten letters are not as common as they used to be, but who doesn’t like to receive letters in the mail? It feels like a breath of fresh air to see a letter in the mail rather than bills that need to be paid.  

Doing kind gestures for other people not only makes the person on the receiving end feel happy, but my soul also gets filled with immense joy. It is so meaningful to do something nice for someone when they least expect it. I get so much satisfaction by the idea of making someone smile because I learn how appreciative they are to receive something nice like that from me. 

By the end of my leadership class, I learned that I am fulfilling my goal of putting happiness into people’s lives. My first year at Wartburg, I had my Inquiry Studies class with one of the members in my small group for leadership. We talked all the time when we had Inquiry Studies together when we were first-year students. As we got busier in our college careers, we lost touch until we were placed in a group together for leadership. 

When I shared to my group members that I aim to make people happy, she made a comment and said, “I always enjoyed going to IS because I knew you were going to be there, and you always made me laugh.” 

Another one of my group members in my leadership class shared something similar, although that person was a stranger to me. Out of my four years at Wartburg, I had not spoken to this person until this year. I have only had four leadership classes with them so far, and they told me, “Just by your little comments here and there and your energy, I was like ‘yeah, I like this girl.”  

It is the little things like that that make me smile. Compliment a stranger. Tell a friend how much they mean to you. Call members of your family. Write a letter. The smallest things have the power to turn someone’s bad day into something good. 






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