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Doing the Right Thing

From the Colorado Dermatology Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Local Pub

I came across a saying the other day that brought back a memory of a man who shared a very valuable insight and one that I now offer to you. The saying is: “Distance yourself from the people who bring out the stress in you, and move closer to those who bring out the best in you”.

Here’s the story. When I was in college I became friends with Ralph, a blind student who happened to live in the same freshman dorm I did. On occasion we’d go downtown to one of the local pubs and as happens in pubs, Ralph and I got to know each other. I learned a lot from Ralph. I observed his self reliance; I was intrigued with how he tagged his clothes so he knew what to wear that matched and looked presentable; I admired the fact that he didn’t pity himself or ask for any favors because of his handicap; and I wondered if I would have that same courage and determination if I were blind or otherwise handicapped.

But the most important things I observed from Ralph were the confidence to not let others determine your state of mind or your fate, and the power and beauty of non-judgmental love. It turns out, Ralph had a girlfriend named Ruth. Ruth was one of those people whose inner beauty and kindness more than made up for any lack of outward beauty, and that inner beauty was what Ralph “saw”. And what Ruth saw in Ralph was a man who recognized the beauty in her soul and loved her for that. It was, as they say, a match made in heaven. When they were together they were content, happy just to be in each other’s presence and oblivious to the comments some people would make about them. They sometimes heard the comments but they dismissed them as ignorant comments from ignorant people. Once when I engaged those who made snide remarks, it was Ralph who calmly said to me that If I allowed rude comments from rude people to set me off, I was giving them more power than they deserved; and that if I chose to disassociate myself from people who angered me or stressed me out, I’d be a happier person. I listened, I learned, and I never attempted to intervene again.

As each of us goes about our business each day, we all have the choice to be judgmental or not. To be kind or not. To covet what we don’t have or to accept and be grateful for what we do have. And we all have the choice as to what kind of people we choose to be around, to listen to, and to share our hearts with. For your own happiness and peace of mind – choose wisely.

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