Angel here.  I have been jokingly and very seriously reminding everyone for weeks now that my 40th birthday is this Thursday.  In the 39 years, I have spent on this earth I have had quite the journey.  Lots of ups and downs, bumps and bruises, and plenty of valuable lessons.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned through the years is we are all completely different.  Sure we have friends who love what we love and people who have commonalities with us.  However, we each trek our own path in life and let me tell you we all handle it differently.

My momma was very wise and always told me "Be nice to people you meet each day and make them feel special because you never know what kind of battle they face."  I took her advice to heart.

My sweet little family looks perfect in pictures.  On any given day we are a complete and utter train wreck of all sorts.  Joe is not a morning person, he smokes and drinks 10 cokes a day. Tuck throws serious tantrums and shoves food wrappers in the furniture. Charlotte thinks she can do everything herself and has the worst meltdowns. Braden is the messiest person alive and he can lie better than anyone I know. And, well, Parker thinks he is perfect most days.  And me well you all know my demons for the most part.

Social media has made it easy for people to have knee jerk reactions or place judgment on others without truly even knowing someone.

We think we know a person because we follow their social media profile or posts.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  I have said it before but most people only post the very best of their own life for others to see never risking transparency.

Did you ever think some people may just post positivity because they are hanging on by a string themselves?  Maybe they post a million pictures of their children or families because behind closed doors it is anything but picture perfect.  The girl or guy who posts one too many party pictures really wishes they had a reason to stay home on the weekend instead.  The snotty mom in the preschool line may just have tons on her mind each day and not even really see you as she jolts out the door to her car.

I am no professional but I have talked with enough people to know the scenarios are 100% real.  You truly never know what is going on in someone's life no matter how close you are to a person.

When I tell my story at different places, others who know me often say "I had no idea you had to deal with the things you have in your life, you always hid it so well."  For years I did because for me I was ashamed, scared, worried what others would think, and I wanted to have it all together.  There was a time in my life I was on the brink of giving up on life and being done with it all and not one person around me would have known any better and no one even asked.  Don't we all want to look put together?

As I got older I realized no one is.  We are all just one mistake, accident, wrong turn, burned breakfast, bad hair day, late for school or work morning away from losing our crap.

Just be nice.  Pray for people.  Be intentional with others.  Send a card.  Pick up the phone instead of texting.  Surprise gifts are always nice and don't have to be expensive.  Show love to others in any way you know-how.  Smile at random strangers and compliment people.

You could literally be someone's saving grace.  Slow down, don't pass judgment, and offer a helping hand.

I cannot begin to list the people who have turned my day around with just a few words of encouragement, a hug, a call out of nowhere, a text to say I was thinking about you.

Maya Angelo said it best "People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

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