Yesterday I was reading a post by my friend Ann. She wrote about how, when she was in grad school, one gentleman offered her some words of wisdom that have stuck with her ever since. She calls them up when she needs comfort, and they work for her.
It got me thinking. (Thanks, Ann!)
We are living in a world where there are many big and little ways to “be the good” in the greater community, from cleaning up the parks to voting to volunteering at a school or senior center to donating food or money to worthy causes to giving blood to checking the “organ donor” box on your driver’s license to countless other activities. Some of those require a lot of time and effort and some don’t; they all serve many people at once, which is wonderful. I encourage you to follow your interests and lend a hand out there, and then consider an additional path.
Here’s a thought: what if we all made a point to use our words to lift and inspire someone else on a personal level? Like the gentleman in Ann’s post, we all have the power to say something encouraging to someone whether we know them or not, and even though we probably won’t know if what we say will stick, why not try? Words don’t have to be poetic or formal or super smart; they just have to be honest and heartfelt. What inspires one person could carry forward into future acts of goodness by them onto others, and then before you know it, just look: you’re helping an entire community again.
Having a heart-to-heart with your own child after he experiences a crushing disappointment at work, in school, or on the field can soothe him at that moment and later on, too.
Telling a friend exactly what she means to you and why you think she’s special is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
Letting a teacher know why you (or your child) learned so much in their class is a good one, too.
You’ve seen the exasperated mom at the grocery store who is trying to get her shopping done while keeping her kids in the cart and dealing with her toddler’s temper tantrum. Kind eyes from a stranger along with “You’re doing a great job!” can be exactly what she needs in that moment, and she just might remember that kindness indefinitely. Personally, I like the random stranger encounters when I can find words that might be helpful but not intrusive.
My friend Alexandra posted a little story on Instagram last month about something she once said to her husband and he carried those words around with him, quite literally. I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Go check out her post here.
My point is, we keep on talking about what a great world we’d live in if everyone was kind. Let’s start with ourselves and LOOK for opportunities to share some words with someone (or someoneS) that will outlast a bad day, a tough month, or a challenging year.
Have someone’s uplifting words stuck with you? Leave them in comments!