To Those Who Go The Extra Mile

The greatest lesson I have ever absorbed from my mother is to treat others how you want to be treated. As banal as that sounds, my mother always treated others above and beyond what others would do for her. Through years of observation, I adapted that same methodology. As someone who is described to feel every emotion to the extreme, I believe I feel empathy and care the strongest (especially for those close to me). Whether this is picking up any beer cans I see on the ground at Kenyon or more specific acts for my intimate friends/family, I’ve always enjoyed going the extra mile. In my 22 years of life I have met three people who “go the extra mile” and meet (sometimes superseded) my expectations: my best friend Katie, a good friend Jackie, and my mom.

A little advice from one extra-miler to another: don’t stop. There will be times (most of them) when you will put 150% of your effort in expectation of a “thank you” or a similar exchange, but you will not receive this treatment back. As a teenager, I let the lack of reciprocation get me down. I took it personally and felt as if that specific person did not love me or care about me enough. Over the years, I have noticed that I don’t do it for the reciprocity but because it makes me happy to see others smile in a time of desperation or anxiety. As selfish as that sounds, going the extra mile because it makes yourself happy is okay too. It’s also important to take note that it does make a difference. You will be capable of maintaining positive relationships that know no bounds. My favorite example of this is from my best friend, Katie. As she lives in Wisconsin and I live in Ohio, we had planned a trip to meet in the middle: Chicago. At the last minute, she had to cancel. Despite what her boss told her, she surprised me by taking an 8-hour bus ride to spend less than 24 hours with me and our other musketeer, Erin. As someone on the receiving end of this selfless act, I can tell you that I have never appreciated a friendship and her effort more.

I do have some final advice for those on the receiving end: just say thank you. We aren’t looking for you to write a novel in dedication to a nice act we’ve done for you or announce it to the world. We just expect, as most human beings do, to not be taken for granted. It is easy day in and day out to over time see our effort as mundane and routine. All we ask is for a simple “thank you.” We love to see you smile and we will do—quite literally—anything (including messaging all of your favorite bands to try and get an autograph) to make that happen.

When you decide to surprise your significant other with a picnic containing all of their favorite foods and sandwiches cut in heart shapes, or send your best friend a hand-written motivational letter; you need to remember your effort and love are not just appreciated but relished. In a world where it can be difficult to see the good in humanity, keep defying the odds by putting as much love and good into the world as possible.

Image Credit: Faith Masterson, Pinimg, Quote Burd