Lately I have been thinking a lot about change. Not the profound kind of packing ship and leaving the country in order to live a simpler life in a secluded area in the middle of nowhere (even though that would be nice sometimes, wouldn´t it?). What I think about revolves more about little tweaks in my every day life, the ones that might not be huge for me to make but may mean the world to someone else. Random acts of kindness so to speak.
We touched base on that topic back in November when I shared my thoughts on WHAT THIS WORLD NEEDS, where we agreed that compassion and a virtual group hug would be the route to go these days. I am wondering though if we still really do remember a few months in, or if it takes another catastrophe for social media to jump in and remind us once again that we´re united on this very planet, collective profile photo change or not…
So I thought for today, I would share my personal take on every-day random acts of kindness that might work for you too. As I see it, if I can inspire just one reader, my work here is done :)
ONE FOR ME, ONE FOR YOU Story time: When I was assigned a new coworker a few months ago (not this one), I did my best to warm up to her but she wasn´t the easy kind. Personal feelings aside, I decided if we have to work together now for the foreseeable future I might as well make the best of it. I overheard her talking about her love for a good matcha latte and so the very next day, instead of getting coffee, I asked the barista for two matcha lattes and it was a total win. I still don´t see us becoming best friends but we are now on amicable terms. The End. So, the next time a coworker is struggling or might be in need of a little pick-me-up, get a second latte or an extra muffin or both! His or her puzzled yet grateful face is so worth it :)
A GENUINE “HOW ARE YOU?” GOES A LONG WAY I know how busy we all are. That word alone, gah. But so is the person next to you in the subway filled to the brim or in the waiting line at the supermarket (I always pick the wrong one!). We are usually impatient and want everything and anything work the way we intend it to. It can be so easy to forget to thank the shop assistant who kindly packed your groceries, or your barista who knows your order before you have to actually say it. A quick chat, a smile, a genuine interest isn´t that much effort and doesn´t even take a minute. Give it a try!
BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR No, I am not talking about the lunatics that live above, in my case. When I saw my lovely neighbor who´s almost 9 months pregnant waddle down the stairs all alone, I just asked her if I can help her with anything. Turned out she was in severe back pain, hence the waddling, and her husband was on a business trip for a couple of days. She ran out of her favorite mineral water and was craving a glass with a fresh lemon slice. No way, I would have let her carry that. I made sure to accompany her back to her apartment and asked what else she needed. She was hesitant at first but gave in eventually. Not even 20 minutes later, I came back with her groceries and she was grateful beyond measure. When her husband returned that weekend, he came by with bouquet of yellow tulips to say thank you. That was so sweet! What could you do to be a better neighbor today?
PICK IT UP AS YOU GO People say if you take 10 minutes before bedtime to just go through your apartment and clean up a few random things, it will make your life easier. I agree. But why only in your apartment? When I am out and about and see trash mindlessly thrown on the sidewalk or old newspapers next to the bin, I just pick it up and put it in the trash. I doesn´t even take a minute. Imagine if we all would do that once in a while?
FOOD IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA When I was having lunch by myself last week, I noticed a mom with her two kids. I didn´t realize it at first but I could hear their conversation and it became obvious that she was a single mom and that their dad was absent. The boys were so cute and well-behaved as they gobbled down their pasta and she just looked like she could need a treat. When I was asking for the check, I asked the waiter to get the boys two little portions of ice cream and their signature tiramisu for the mom but not telling them it´s my treat. When I left the restaurant and saw her grateful look, it just made it all worth it. As I stepped outside, I could hear her boys cheer and her saying that she truly needed this. Made my day.
Since today is only happening every four years, why not make it a memorable one? I am not asking you to break the bank but just one tiny gesture can go a long way.
What will yours be?
(Image courtesy of Courtney Shelton from Hibrid)