The Gift of You

Leave this world better than you find it. Leave people better than you find them.

Do you ever wonder how you can leave your mark on the world? It’s a bit of an overwhelming thought to have. Start by asking yourself how you can leave your mark on the day, this day. Ask God to show you someone you can encourage. Never stop encouraging people. Never stop reminding people just how amazing, unique, and wonderful they are.

I’ll never forget my second grade teacher. She was quirky, fun, and incredibly loving. One day we were given an art assignment. That assignment was to paint a picture, a picture that would be displayed for the parents to see at the parent-teacher conference that evening. I remember I painted a landscape of some trees and sky as well as some birds in the background. I felt frustration come over me, and I crumbled it up and threw it in the trash.

That night my mom came home and told me she loved my painting. “What painting?” I asked in confusion. “I threw it away.” My mom then told me my teacher had said to her that it was her favorite one of all.

The next day, all of the students’ paintings were hanging on the wall outside the classroom. I examined each picture one by one, and then I came to mine. You could still see the crumple marks on it, but someone had retrieved it from the trash can I threw it away in, flattened it out, and hung it on the wall. I’ll never forget the way that made me feel. It completely changed my perception of my artwork. When I saw it up on the wall hanging, knowing it was loved, I loved it too. “It’s so beautiful.” I thought to myself.

So often we discard ourselves. So often it takes someone else to remind us just how wonderful we really are. The next time you find that you are being overly critical of yourself, just try to see yourself through someone else’s eyes—someone who thinks you’re absolutely amazing. Then, redirect your attention to someone who needs to hear how amazing they are.

My teacher probably never knew it, but she left her mark on me that day. The little girl, whose art she believed in, grew up to be an artist and a woman who believes in herself. I hope this encourages you to leave your mark on someone as well—giving them the gift that lives on inside them, the gift that is you.

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