This weekend I was chatting with a bunch of friends and the topic turned to how uncivil or just plain mean some people and parts of the media have become. While thoughts and ideas centered around one aspect of this, it did get me to thinking. What can I do to change the negative to a positive?
As a child I told my parents I wanted to change the world. They told me that would never happen. Well, maybe the entire world was a bit of a stretch (but if a child says it – tell her to “go for it!”) I thought, why not change my piece of the world – and hope that it spreads.
If you wish to participate, here’s what to do:
- Remember some important words: Yes, thank you, and please.
- Remember to smile – your facial expressions speak volumes.
- If someone holds the door open for you, smile and say “thank you.”
- Hold the door open for others – men and women alike. If someone takes the door from you to let you go in first, smile and say “thank you.”
During my years married, I was the one who always held the door open or unlocked the car door and opened it for my partner. When we split, I mentioned to friends that regardless of the fact that I am a sturdy woman in her (then) mid-30’s who had no difficulty lifting and hauling, it really made me feel special when someone opened the door for me. And for nine years, every time I am with those friends, I have had doors opened for me. And every single time I feel special.
- Let people know they are appreciated. Thank the people who do things around your church, school, neighborhood or with whom you work or live – whether they be your boss, your equal or your subordinate – everyone likes to feel appreciated.
- Let others ahead of you in line if they only have a few items or seem to be in a rush when you are not.
There is nothing worse than being in a hurry, needing to pick up a few items at the store, and every line is six deep with folks with full carts.
- Tell the people you care about how wonderful they are.
- Tell people how talented and creative they are.
People tend to live up to the standards people have placed on them – both positive and negative – because they come to believe the good or the bad about themselves.
- Tell people you have never met before how lovely they look (if they do).
- Tell parents with children how well behaved they are (only if they truly are).
- Try to go out of your way to do something extra nice for someone (whether you know them or not) every day.
- Try and make your first response a positive one.
If you generally say “No, don’t do that.” Try “Please do something different;” If you sometimes say, “That won’t work” try, “That’s an interesting idea, tell me why you think this will work.” We may discover that we don’t always know if something will work or not.
- When you talk with a person – rather than spending time figuring out what you will be saying next, or working on the computer, truly listen to what others are saying.
I’ve got to work on this, especially when I talk on the phone, I often find myself doing something on the computer at the same time.
Above all else, let’s be good to each other. Treat others like you would like to be treated, and remember that we’re all on this journey of life together.