Truly, would it kill us all to be a little kinder to each other? Is it normal to despise other people so much? We’re really getting disgusting with each other lately as humans. We’re angry at each other, we’re judging each other as if we don’t have our own dirt, we’re hurting and killing each other, and all that with very little empathy for anyone.
I want to start being a more decent human being, because I’ll admit my patience is short and the list of things that make me want to stab people is sometimes long.
In light of this, over the past week or two I’ve been paying more attention to the people around me. Instead of avoiding eye contact I’m making an effort to smile as I pass someone in the grocery store, and here in Alabama – the land of waving to other motorists you pass on the road, thank you ma’ams, and yes sirs – a solid portion of people have not been returning my smile. Some even deadpan back at me like, “Die, b*tch.” For smiling at them!
It makes me horribly sad.
I know it hasn’t always been this way, and the more I notice it recently, the more I want to do things to be nice to people. To make people smile, if I can.
So I’m being a little more aggressive with my niceties. Smiling a little bigger, throwing in a ‘good morning’ or ‘hey’ or even a ‘fiddlesticks’…anything, really.
I remember a little while back there being a social push on the ‘Pay it Forward’ movement. I’m thinking about bringing that back for myself somehow. I’m making a very serious effort at avoiding fast food as much as possible so the main suggestion I remember, doing something like paying for the person behind me, isn’t an option. Maybe in the grocery line, perhaps. I’m brainstorming on other ideas as well. The grocery line seems kind of in your face.
In the meantime, I have started to make an effort on social media. This is my little socially anxious way to show love and/or support. It sounds small and petty, and it is, but people love their likes, don’t they?!?! I know I do!
While I’ve essentially nixed Facebook (it’s been relegated to an unseen screen on my iPhone), I try to show support on Instagram, Litsy, and other blogs. While I have always made an effort to ‘like’ the pictures my friends post and the things they do, I haven’t always with people outside of my circle – like charities I support or blogs I read regularly – so I’m making an effort to ‘like’ and comment more. Something positive, let them know when I enjoy or agree with something, or a simple “great picture”!! I actually will sometimes go in search of something to comment on.
I do this even if these people don’t do the same to mine, because my point is to show positive support, not tally ‘friend’ points in a tit-for-tat. As I said, it’s a tiny thing but it’s also a positive thing that can be done with little time and effort. I hope it makes them happy (it does me)!!
I’ve also started making an effort to give more to the charities I support. I make small monthly donations via Patreon and when I can I’ll also look up their wish list on Amazon and send them items they need. It’s not a ton of money, because I don’t have a lot to give, but every little bit helps (is what I tell myself)!
I’ve found my job is the toughest place for me to show patience and I am trying to make a conscious decision to be kind, even when they’re rude, or whiny, or I just don’t feel like it. There are times I have to remind myself halfway through a conversation, and there are also times I fail completely, but I am making definitive improvements.
I’m just getting started, but already I can feel a shift in how I look at the world. My focus is more often now on finding some way I can do something kind or understand someone else’s point of view instead of feeling the frustration towards other people I felt before. So unexpectedly it’s not just others benefiting, I am too!
I hope that this has started you thinking about doing some things in your own world. If it has…please, do it! No matter how big or small your ability is, you can make a difference! The point is to start the ball rolling. I promise that as you begin, you will find other, bigger ways to make an impact.
Here are 10 small ways you can make a positive impact today:
- Return a genuine smile. Always. No matter how sucky your day is and how small your return smile has to be. Make an effort!
- Say thank you. For an opened door, for help picking something up, for someone simply doing their job. Say it more than you think you should.
- Open a door, whether the person approaching looks physically capable themselves or not. Even if there’s that longer pause when they’re a little farther away or a little slower than you expected. Still open the door.
- Give a genuine compliment. It doesn’t matter if it’s their smile, their shirt, or the way they always get to work before start time…find something to compliment!
- Call someone to tell them you care. I can’t imagine anything better than a phone call or text from someone who loves me.
- Find a charity to support. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram. If you can, make a donation, whether it’s a regular monthly donation via Patreon or a one-time $5 gift via Paypal. If you aren’t able to support financially right now, support them on social media until you can.
- Leave a larger tip than usual. Years ago I worked in the corporate office of a restaurant chain so I know waiters and waitresses make very little money in salary. I’m sure they will appreciate your gift!
- Give a ‘secret’ gift. Leave a candy bar on your co-worker’s desk (bonus points if it’s not your favorite co-worker), or maybe a note of thanks for being who they are! Don’t sign it, or do – it doesn’t really matter!
- Post a positive quote or meme to social media. Spread the positive! This gives you a boost as you spend time finding the perfect quote, and ripples out to others who see what you’ve posted!
- Pick up trash you see on the ground as you walk in the store. You will have done a good deed and helped make your town a cleaner place! It’s also quite possible you’ve saved the life of an animal who might have eaten or gotten tangled up in it.