I used to never say “hello” to strangers. I would, like many, in crossing paths with unfamiliar faces, look down, at my phone, at birds in the sky, anywhere but at those faces. I did this not simply because I was insecure, but because I had learned to think that my greetings should be reserved for people who I knew, people who I knew well enough to know that they would return them.
What does saying “hello” to a stranger matter anyway? I often asked this of myself until I realized, as a mother, in receiving the “hellos” of strangers just how much it does matter. Even from strangers, I now know and can acknowledge that it’s nice to be acknowledged. It’s nice to know that someone who doesn’t know you cared enough, cares enough, to look you in the eyes, often, with a smile and say “hello.”
That feels good and when you feel good it’s easier to want to make others feel good. So, someone says “hello” to you and then you say “hello” to someone else, and before you know it everyone is feeling happier and smiling about saying “hello” to strangers. It’s funny how that works, right?
We are agents of change, everyday, when we decide to focus on doing things like this, things that can change the minutes, hours, days, and, ultimately, our lives and the lives of people that we know and don’t know.
This, and other small deeds done with our best intention, is how we all can make a difference in the world.