Service and happiness
As a teenager I thought it was cool to cut other people down. It made me feel somewhat better than the other person. One day I was hanging with a friend while putting down every remark he made. My friend had had enough. I was not a friend to him. I was mean and he didn't want to be around me. He explained all this to me as calmly as he could muster.
I felt like finding a hole to climb in. I needed a portable hole to duck into. But there I was. I had to just sit there and face this person who had just pointed out a horrible truth about me.
Later that night when I returned home I resolved that I would never be in that situation again. I would never put anyone down as long as I could help it. But I did not stop there. I continued with my resolution. I would go around lifting rather than putting down. I have not always succeeded, but that day opened up a whole new world to me.
I went from being a rather introverted 16 year old to an outgoing 17 year old. As I walked the halls of my high school between classes I found something nice to say about everyone I passed. Sometimes I had to search, but the task I had set for myself became increasingly easier as time turned into years.
A side affect of this new attitude was that I found I had a lot of friends. People liked being around me...not because I was all that great, but because I found the good in them.