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The You Matter Marathon: A Simple, FREE Way to Change Someone’s Life (No Running Required)

I care. I’m here. I’m sorry. You can.

Two simple words can make a huge difference. They can soothe, heal, connect, and inspire.

Perhaps the two most powerful words in the English language: You matter.

Far too many people don’t believe this is true. Especially since the start of the pandemic, many have felt isolated, purposeless, and some even hopeless, wondering if they’ll ever feel connected and valuable again—if they ever even have.

My new friend Cheryl Rice started this global kindness movement, the You Matter Marathon, for this very reason.

It all began back in 2016 when a colleague handed her a business sized card with only those two powerful words on it—You matter.

That gesture and those two words touched Cheryl deeply.

Cheryl wanted to pay it forward, so she ordered her own You Matter cards and began sharing them with family and friends. From there, she began handing them out to people she appreciated in her community, like her dry cleaner and the man who sold her fruit at her local farmer’s market.

Weeks later, she got confirmation that her simple mission had the capacity to completely transform someone’s day—and maybe even their life.

She was standing behind a woman in the grocery store checkout line. The cashier asked the woman how she was doing. Instead of offering a painfully dishonest, knee-jerk “I’m fine,” she confessed that her husband had just lost his job, she was having issues with her son, and she didn’t know how she was going to get through the holidays. She then pulled out her food stamps.

Cheryl’s heart ached for this woman, who she wished she could somehow help. She knew she couldn’t solve her problems or take away her pain, but she could give her one of the most powerful gifts anyone can receive from another human being—a moment of validation. And that’s exactly what she did when she approached the woman in the parking lot and handed her a You Matter card.

The woman began to cry and said, “You have no idea how much this means to me.”

Her response caught Cheryl off guard and cracked her heart open even further. She asked if she could give the woman a hug and then Cheryl went to her car and cried.

So many people are starving for acknowledgment, walking through their days in a daze of pain, hoping someone will truly see them and care. Maybe you’re one of those people, or you were at one point in your life. I know I’ve been there before.

We all want to believe that we matter and that our feelings matter, but we don’t always think to give this type of affirmation to the people we encounter. Maybe because we get wrapped up in our own problems or because we think it takes a lot of time or money to make a meaningful difference for someone else.

But when we reach outside ourselves and make a heart-to-heart connection with someone who’s hurting, or who just yearns to be seen and valued as a human being, in that moment, we matter. We make a difference. And we inspire someone else to do the same, one life-affirming interaction at a time.

That’s what the You Matter Marathon is about—creating positive connections within and between individuals and communities one card share at a time.

To support their primary mission of sharing one million You Matter cards every November, they offer a free month’s supply of You Matter cards to anyone who signs up here.Since 2016, millions of cards have circulated through eighty-three countries, making a massive, stunningly positive impact. Join the movement and help heal the world, one day and one card at a time.

To learn more, check out the one-minute You Matter Marathon highlight video and Cheryl’s ten-minute TEDx talk, You Matter—Changing the World with 2 Words.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. She recently launched a Mindfulness Kit to help reduce our stress and increase our peace and joy. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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