“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
If you interact in any capacity with the human race, it doesn’t take you too long to realize there are a lot of unhappy and hurting people in the world. Some suffering is seen on a global level and plays out on our TV screens and computer monitors on a daily basis; hunger, war, exploitation of innocent children…the list is endless. Some are on a smaller, more individual scale, loss of a job, death of a loved one, end of a marriage, loss of health, watching a parent’s health, and memory decline; again, the list is endless. Every single day we come in contact with people who are possibly holding on by a thread. We have no idea what our server at Chili’s went through before her shift. And that man that cut you off in traffic, he more than likely didn’t do it just to be a jerk, his mind might be spinning with the bad news he just got before he got in the car. The point is, most people are doing the best they can with the hand they have been dealt in this thing called life. The more compassion and love we can show those in our path on a daily basis, the better we will feel. So, big surprise, I have a list of ways we can be the change we want to see in the world and spread love and kindness to the people that cross our paths every day. And here is another surprise, while it’s a great idea to pay for the car behind you in the Starbuck’s line, that isn’t the only way to spread the love….
- Smile-Mother Theresa summed it up the importance of a smile with the following words, “Let us always meet each other with a. smile for a smile is the beginning of love.” The smile you share with someone might be the only smile they get that day. That is a pretty big responsibility! And it is scientifically proven that smiling makes you feel more positive, so it’s a win-win situation!
- Be Lavish and Specific With Your Praise-We have all been there, that person who is constantly fishing for a compliment cast their line right in the middle of your bad day. Everything in you is screaming to ignore them, especially if this is a regular occurrence in your interaction with them. But here is the deal, most people are not near as self-confident as we think they are. Their bravado and cocky attitude is just a coverup for a big case of doubt and insecurity. So give the compliments, whether they are fished for or not. Make sure they are sincere, but make it your goal to never miss an opportunity to build someone up and encourage them. You know the saying “Always leave a place better than you found it”? Make it your personal goal to “Always leave a person better off than you found them”!
- Look For the Best In People-I know that in some people this can be like looking for buried treasure without a treasure map, but I promise you it is there. This goes back to the quote at the beginning of this post, don’t always assume that people’s bad attitude is aimed at you. Be the official excavator of good characteristics in people.
- Stop Gossip In Its Tracks-Absolutely nothing good comes from partaking in the spreading of gossip. Period.
- Leave Positive Reviews-Unfortunately, we are much more motivated to fire off a scathing review of that restaurant or business that gave us poor service and a bad product than we are to leave a good review of that place or person that went above and beyond what was required of them. Try to get in the habit of leaving the good reviews, or asking to speak to the manager not to complain about your server but to compliment them. Every time I have taken the time to do this management has stated how rare of an occurrence this is. We can change that one review at a time.
- Leave Positive Notes In Unexpected Places-Maybe you slip a note under the windshield wiper of a car next to you at the grocery store that says, “You are doing a great job, and I hope you have a great day!” Leave positive notes in books at the book store and library, stuck to the gallon of milk at the grocery store, or in the pocket of that adorable hoody at Target. Or take the old school approach with paper and pen and a stamp and mail a note of appreciation and encouragement to someone. There is such power in words, use them for good!
- Be Open Minded-Remember, a person’s worth isn’t defined by their religion, political view, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or the amount of money in their bank account. Everyone across the board suffers and has bad days, and everyone across the board needs love and encouragement. Be an equal opportunity encourager!
- Be an Active Listener-Be completely present in all conversations, no matter how short and unimportant they are to you. Listen to others the way you want to be listened to, undistracted, and engaged. Don’t be on your phone scrolling through your social media feed or answering a text. Put your phone away, and actively listen to the person right in front of you. And when people are sharing challenges and issues they are dealing with, don’t view them as problems to be fixed. Most people aren’t looking for advice or a solution to their problem, they are simply needing to be heard.
When we begin to make love a lifestyle, focusing on what when can do instead of what we can get, we will begin to see a change in the way we view the world. When we begin to operate from a place of abundance instead of one of scarcity, we will realize that the more love we give away, the more we are continually filled back up. When we live our lives in an authentic way, instead of trying to look like we have everything under control, we will be able to meet them right where they are and be given the opportunity to show them love in a very specific and tangible way. And that is needed so badly in today’s world. I leave you with the following lyrics to Jackie DeShannon’s song “What the World Needs Now”
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.