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2023 Jan

Happy New Year 2023

Here’s how to make the world a better place.

A friend told me recently that she had an unpleasant encounter with a man in a parking lot. He was venting to anyone within hearing distance that he’d driven all the way to a particular warehouse store only to find out that they had run out of toilet paper. My friend made a few conciliatory comments, trying her best to be positive and encourage the unhappy shopper to lighten up and not sweat the small stuff.

Needless to say, her friendly remarks went unheeded. The man told her in so many words to mind her own business and stalked off, shadowed by a black cloud that probably followed him around all day. This incident speaks to me about two things that I think are worth remembering as we enter into a brand new year with all its shining possibilities.

First, the world is full of people who are not having a good day, maybe not even having a good life. Being compassionate to others—even in the face of hostility and anger —shows that you are choosing to be positive, and the word needs more positive people, right?

When we send out good vibrations to our fellow humans—whether it’s in the form of a smile and greeting or letting another driver into a traffic during rush hour or offering to take someone’s shopping cart, these simple acts of kindness do have a ripple effect, I believe. Besides being kind to others always lifts up our spirits, doesn’t it?

I think a good intention to have in the new year is to be compassionate—both to others and to ourselves. We can be our worst enemies, beating ourselves up for the slightest shortcomings. Sometimes it’s we who are having a bad day. Remembering to be kind and forgiving to ourselves keeps us from falling deeper into bad moods and overall dissatisfaction.

The second lesson I gleaned from my friend’s parking lot incident is that life is full of choices. These choices are ours to make. One of the most important choices we can make is to choose to be happy. It sounds simple, right? Wake up each morning and say, “Today I’m going to be happy.” And guess what? It is that simple. If you make a conscious effort to be happy, happiness will come.

The Tidewater Family Plus team and I wish you a very happy new year. Choose compassion and happiness in 2023, and the world will be a better place.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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