How often do you think of doing something kind for someone else, but never follow through with actually doing it? How often do you think, "oh, it would be really nice to <send that person a card/call that person and tell her I miss her/invite that person out to dinner>" but then you never do? Even simpler, how often do you want to compliment someone on something, but hold back?
Why do we do this? What keeps us from following through on our really good intentions? Why is it so hard to find time in our so-busy lives to even take a few minutes to write a quick note to someone? Why is it so hard sometimes to just tell someone that they look nice or that you appreciated something kind that they did for you?
I think that there are two main culprits at play:
1. No one has any time for anything. I am working on slowing down -- I think you'll all be hearing about this a lot in the coming weeks. I always find myself rushing from place to place, my mind always on what needs to happen next. I never take the time to slow down and enjoy the moment I'm in. I think that this is part of why I have a hard time with follow through, why I can never seem to find the time to bring my good intentions to fruition.
2. Doing kind things for others, even just paying a simple compliment requires confidence in ourselves. It requires us to trust that the kindness will be well-received. There have been times when I've found myself wanting to compliment someone, but I decide that they most likely aren't concerned about my opinion. "She's super cool already, why would she care that I really like her dress?" "Of course he knows he's a good writer, why should I tell him what he already knows?"
But here's the thing -- everyone I know enjoys compliments. How about you? Studies have shown that positive reinforcement is a tremendous motivator. And, it feels good to compliment people. As I said before, it's nice to be nice.
So, I'd like to issue a challenge to you, my lovely blog readers: be nice. For one week, follow through on every kind act that you think about doing. Whether it's helping someone across the street, giving up your seat to someone on the bus, or simply making eye contact with someone and saying "thank you," be nice. Follow through. Do it. For one week, don't let your I'm-to-busy-to-send-that-thank-you-card way of thinking get the best of you.
Maybe you'll have to turn the television off early. Maybe you'll have to read a few less blogs (omg!). And maybe you'll be surprised. Maybe you'll find that acting on kindness feels amazing, like something you want to keep doing.
I'll be doing this challenge too. I promise, a full report will follow!