I was having a conversation with someone the other day about basic needs of teenagers. Since having that conversation I have come to decide that at least one of those needs is absolutely applicable to any age and stage of life. I believe that most people in the world just want to know that they are truly cared about and have someone listen to them as if what they say is important. How that plays out is possible in various ways, but the basic need is still the same.

We all want to be valued. We want someone to love us. We want someone to care if we’re having a rough day. We want someone to notice.

To see beyond the pretense of what we show to others is really a gift. How many times have you watched someone act like the life of the party only to find out later that they were really hurting at the time? Often some of the most confident people are really masking huge insecurities. Most people don’t realize it because they can’t see past the façade. And no one wants to be called out for their supposed weakness.

We really need to give each other a break. Everyone is dealing with their own stuff. When we extend grace to others, it will come back around to bless us too. Everyone is carrying around personal baggage that others can’t see. When we are merciful in our dealings, it may just mean the world to one of the recipients.

The Golden Rule is a biblical principle that will serve us well as we learn to walk it out: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Matthew 7:12

I encourage you to value someone else today. Be a blessing, expecting nothing in return. Smile. Speak life and hope. Be kind. Ask God to make you an instrument of his peace and grace today, and see what kind of doors he opens for you. God can use you (whether you think that is possible or not). You really can make a difference in the life of another. Yes, you.