When people thank you, be grateful. When someone throws a party in your honor, attend and give a speech when they ask. Know how to accept a compliment with humble dignity; practice if you need.
When you make a positive difference to others—even when you don’t see it yourself—allow them to show their appreciation. Even when you’re sad or you don’t feel like being the birthday boy, attend for the sake of others. At least pretend to enjoy yourself.
Between the green room and the front stage, when overly-excited and unexpected fans tell stupid jokes—or complain about things they actually care little for—because they don’t know what else to say, recognize it for what it’s worth: They consider you family and are doing their best to show you the proof. Complainers often just want attention; answer with affirmation.
Respond with gratitude and love, whether to children or your uninvited fan club. My grandmother often reminded me of my cousin, “Look behind you.” I would turn around to see my younger cousin. “You have a little shadow that follows you wherever you go and does whatever you do.”
We never know how big of a positive impact we can have on others. Let people show you their appreciation, even if you don’t see their math add up from where you stand. This will be most important on your bad days when you’re behind schedule, fighting the weather, and feeling more tired than usual. Those are the days when Jesus will send his favorite children—young children and elderly children—to visit you and tell you what a difference you still can make by encouraging them.
So, when you don’t feel like it, put on your best face for the sake of others. Deal with your inner problems genuinely, but don’t let your personal dilemma of the hour rain on someone else’s parade. Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” It could be your very ability to look past your own problems to help someone else with a hand or a smile that gives you the joy you need to get through the rest of your day.