Life can feel counter-intuitive even when it’s not. A lot of you were nervous about saying something nice to a difficult person but, as many of you found out, grumpy people don’t get a lot of compliments so they’ll either scoff at yours or they’ll love it. I’m glad so many of you got such positive reactions.
Okay, so yesterday we shared some nice words with a person we might otherwise avoid. Today we’ll take some small action. This can be as simple as bringing a coffee for the grumpiest person you work with. Or maybe it’s taking your poorest-behaving kid out for some special solo time doing something they really value.
How these things work is that co-worker might genuinely be going through something tough and you create a valued connection. Or maybe the kid’s being bullied and needs a safe alone-space to share that. No you’re not going to change someone’s personality with one nice act, but you can do things that encourage them to have their awareness a little more open.
If you get a negative reaction for your gesture, considering who you’re giving it to that’s not entirely a surprise and so then you can focus your attention on the act of giving–which always feels good. And if the reaction is positive then you have used your candle to light another. That’s how the world gets better. Imagine if every one of us just did that once a day. Even if no one responded we would all feel so much better just from the giving.
The world didn’t get impersonal and corporate and legal and complicated on its own. We made it that way and we can make it another way. We can stop worrying so much about the fences our ideas create between this person or that idea of property and we can focus instead on how our life feels.
Yes, the world does improve when people take positive action. But your world improves the moment you take that action. This is the wonderful selfishness that is giving. Generosity in general will lead people to very positive feelings.
There are no guarantees in this life. You can put in something good and get something terrible out. But by far the best odds of getting something good out does come from putting something good in. Call it karma, call it God, the name or concept matters far less than how that manifests in the daily experience of those on this Earth.
Your life is not where you are, who you are, or what you are doing. What matters is, what are you thinking? What are you holding in the preciousness of your consciousness? Because if it is the welfare of another, then that automatically implies that you have not only enough for yourself, but also enough to share. And there is no richer person than the one who needs nothing.
Give. Not for their sake. For yours. Today. Take some action. Say something nice to continue yesterday’s meditation and add an action for today’s. Enjoy.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.