Several years ago I was a social misfit, a wallflower some may say (just ask my daughter). The mere thought of being in a crowd of people I didn't know, would make my heart beat out of my chest. My palms would sweat, and I would feel anxious. I didn't know what to say, what to do, or if people would accept, or receive me well.
One day, I decided to take a leap of faith and conquer my fear head on. I decided to say hi, good morning, or smile, and have eye contact with, everyone I passed. The response from people was incredible! At work, I sat in the lunchroom at a different table every day and spoke to people I didn't know. One girl said, "I always thought you were a stuck up bitch, but you are actually really nice." Point taken, my shyness was perceived as me being a bitch,and unapproachable, because I didn't get to know people, and I realized how important it was to them, especially since I was in a supervisory position.
I continued to practice, and everywhere I went I would talk to people, to force myself to get out of my comfort level and to see what reaction I would get. I would say the things that were in my head at the moment. "What a beautiful dress." Your child is so cute." I love your hair!" If my grey came in that color, I would never dye my hair, you are so lucky!" People's faces lit up like Christmas trees. Somehow I had 360'd people's day, with the smallest gesture. I didn't live in their shoes, I didn't know what they were going through at the time. Were they going through a rough patch, depressed, struggling? Although I did not know, I felt I changed their outlook on the day because a random stranger noticed them and shared words of kindness.
We live in a fast paced busy world. Take the time to do something for someone else, and your heart will soar! Do random acts of kindness for others, expecting NOTHING in return, and you will be filled with joy. You and the receiver will both reap the benefits. Say a kind word. Donate things you don't need. (Both of my children donated their first cars. It's a great tax write off) Bring your pet to a senior center. Help someone in need that is going through a hardship. Be a listening ear to someone who is lonely. Offer your expertise or services to someone free of charge. Pay for a veteran's meal without them knowing who paid for it. (My father does this)
Pay it forward people, and when someone says to you, "What can I do for you in return? You were so kind to me." Tell them to do one random act of kindness for someone without expecting anything in return. Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone did so?
- Mama Hinrichs