MoK: Compliment Day!

Three full weeks of positivity. A bunch of people, each doing a few kind acts per day. Both individually and collectively we have literally changed the world for the better. Stop and think about that. It’s like being a soldier in the Love Army, where you shot people through the heart and mind with acceptance, understanding and love. I can’t believe how amazing you are.

We never know who we caught at what time. There’s no way any of us could know it at the time, but with this many people, surely one of us caught at least one person on a really difficult day. Someone was heading toward suicide, or some other very negative act, and our little March of Kindness–likely without them even knowing it exists–may very well have saved their lives, or at least their day.

We’ve all had those days, weeks, months and years. Maybe we lost someone important to us. Maybe we got news that our dreams were not going to pan out the way we’d hoped. Maybe a relationship ended. These things happened in life. And yet just stop and think about those days where someone’s actions felt more like a life preserver than anything. Good for us! We made a difference.

So with only one week left, today let’s return to something from the end of week one; only then you were giving compliments as a way of shifting your thinking away from you and your thoughts, and toward someone else. Today we’ll act the same, but inside ourselves we won’t be doing it as a symbiotic act. This time we think about what we’ve done, we feel strong and capable, and then we give from that position of strength.

As the title obviously suggests, it’s Compliment Day. We stand up tall, we remind ourselves of our strongest times and then we turn on our awareness, looking for things and acts and people we admire. Today you’re a compliment machine. Today you make people around you feel good through your willingness to openly acknowledge them.

It can be their coat, their hair, their smile, their manners, sense of humour, work, or character. All compliments count. You are a fountain of strength and sharing today. Today you surprise and please people. And in doing so, between all of us we’re sure to incite someone to spontaneously join us. Without doubt, one of us will tip a positivity-compliment domino and it will keep tipping through a number of people as the good feelings pass like a wave.

I’ll start off by complimenting all of you and your willingness to work on your own mental health, resiliency and society. Even the kids in schools that participated had to buy-in. That was voluntary and as a fellow human being I really appreciate the fact that you did that. Thank you. Thank you–personally–thank you thank you thank you for having the big heart and great attitude that you have. I love that quality in you.

So today, get out there and give those compliments. Let your full cup runneth over into the lives of those around you. Make a co-worker or classmate feel great about their effort, or attitude or style. Make a stranger feel good about who they appear to be to others. Make those closest to you realise that you do notice the little things.

Thanks again for your participation. You’re all just awesome. What a great thing that a bunch of strangers would meet on a website and agree to be kind and generous to a bunch of other strangers and friends. Who does such a thing? Us, that’s who. Us, people who care. We’re the ones who are strong. We’re the ones filled with love. And today we express that love! And we enjoy every minute of it!

Have a great weekend everyone. For my part I’m going to carry this compliment thing all the way to Monday and our final week. You have a spectacular three days and I’ll see you all back here on next week. Until then, much love to each and every single one of you.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

MoK: Reaching Out With Awareness

Hey there beautiful reader, I’ve got an easy one for you today. You’ve put so much positivity into the world in March that I wanted to thank/reward you with something simple that can add as much to your life as it does to someone else’s.

Today’s action in the March of Kindness requires you to maintain awareness of the world around you. Your eyes and ears have to be on-guard for an opportunity. You want to watch and listen for your chance to be helpful.

This can be anything really. But the idea is that the person can tell that you’ve gone out of your way to help. Maybe you’re leaving a building with no automatic doors and you see a mother with a big stroller heading toward a set of double doors. Running back to help her is clearly out of your way–and that’s what helps her feel “seen.”

The point here is the “seen” part, not the favour. It would be like if someone at work was overrun with work, and you took half your lunch to help them and they’re not even in your department. That’s so rare it’ll feel weird for them that you’d even offer, which is sad in a way. That’s what this March of Kindness is about; weaving kindness more deeply into our lives, our days and our societies.

One of the best places to do these things is with people with whom you are the most familiar. How often does a husband just say to his wife spontaneously, Hey honey, I was thinking it would be nice if I expressed my love in same tangible way that eased your life. Is there anything I can fit into this half hour that I could do for you that would have a big impact on your day or life? That would be something she’d be likely to tell her friends about it would be so notable.

Even small acts like the ones referenced in this article are valuable for the very same reason that the woman being “seen” with the stroller is. It’s the recognition that makes people feel cared about more than the act. Literally, it’s the fact that they were even in your awareness that counts.

Turn up your awareness. Tune into what’s going on. Watch your social media for opportunities rather than things to get outraged about, and then act. If everyone did this every day, the world would literally change. This is why this post from the facebook page yesterday was there. In poor places like Burundi, people need each other more and that need creates tighter, happier communities.

And do me one favour? Enjoy it while you do it. Imagine the feeling they’d have if they suddenly found out the thing you’re doing is taken care of. Because that lightness–that happiness–is really what you gave them.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Other Perspectives #85

781 OP Relax and Succeed - If your theologyThe sentiment is a good one but I would prefer the phrase interpretation of your theology. I have been all over the world and everywhere I see the same values. People feel good and they are always generous when they are loved, and they become insecure and difficult when the world seems indifferent. People can respond to this in secular or religious terms. I have seen absolutely beautiful gestures from both. Ultimately love is the center of each of the religions so far from them opposing each other they should be seen more like the same book presented in different languages. No matter what your path, love will lead your way to the best possible outcomes.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Comforting Friends

We all love our friends. We care about how they feel. But when dealing with strong swings in their emotions we often will over-react in either one direction or another. If it’s someone we admire and respect we’ll find their struggles to be unnerving so we’ll want them to simply end. In those cases we’ll say that everything is going to be fine and we’ll offer a bunch of pat solutions—and some may even be true—but what we’ll really be doing is avoiding the fact that a mentor or parent needs us to meet them where they are and we don’t want to go to that weak place with someone we lean on.

264 Relax and Succeed - Talking about our problemsIf it’s someone we care about in a protective way—or if we feel beholden to the person—then we will be inclined to commiserate with them. We’ll let them tell us endless sad stories and we’ll share common-themed sad stories of our own. In a strange way we will encourage their painful feelings. Whether we don’t let them talk or do let them talk, neither of these approaches will lead to the best possible outcome for very logical reasons.

In the first case we have not met the person. Right when they are feeling weak and vulnerable we have made a demand: get over this. Accept a quick easy solution and tell me we can go back to you being the rock I hold on to when I’m scared. That person may be your rock 99% of the time. But it isn’t friendship if it can’t go both ways. So sometimes you might just have to accept that even life’s heroes will need tending. Even they will feel beaten and tired and even they will be driven to uncharacteristic behaviour. They’re not lacking in humanity. They have great respect for it, so they’ll be the ones that will apologize for their behaviour. And they will also forgive you for your judgment of them when they were merely being human.

In the second case the person’s situation is whatever it is. Talking about it or thinking about it won’t change that. What the person does will matter. So yes, unlike the first example commiseration at least meets people at the energy level they are capable of. But instead of leading the person out it actually helps to keep the person trapped. Healthy people think about something only long enough to plan their action or inaction. After that they drop it. That’s what being healthy is. Emotionally unskilled egos will replay events and chain them into past events or imagine them connected to future events. In short, the ego will sit and 264 Relax and Succeed - When someone is going through a stormruminate on what it wish had happened whereas a healthy spirit will take the action that makes the most sense and otherwise stay present and focused on the current moment.

There’s a reason that commiseration reaches a point where it doesn’t feel good. At that point you are no longer truly joined with the person nor are you usefully sharing their feelings. At that point you have disengaged and you are beginning to think about yourself. Your natural defence mechanism rises up and it wants you away from the negativity—hence the fact that you don’t like the feeling you’re feeling. This is when it’s time to turn your friend’s chemistry. This is when you begin to offer other frequencies of thought.

Their thoughts about the situation will be generating a lot of painful chemistry. Maybe they feel betrayal or frustration or anger or guilt. It doesn’t matter which chemicals—just focus on the fact that they don’t feel magnetic. They don’t feel encouraging. They’re not feelings you want to see continue. That’s your motivation. That’s your signal. That’s how your body communicates to you about your thinking. You feel what you think. So steer life away from unpleasant thinking and towards enjoyable thinking until eventually you can get to almost no thinking, just being.

So when you’re talking to your friend don’t tell them everything will be okay because from their perspective that’s like saying they’re crazy when they’re not. But also: don’t start ping-ponging sad or angry stories back and forth because that will really build up a tempest of unpleasant chemistry that can end up leading to some very poor decisions that may 264 Relax and Succeed - You can not save peoplepermanently affect your future.

Be with your friend. Just Be. There’s no right words at a time like that. There’s only love. So just sit there and focus on your love for them. Let them talk. And when it feels right remind them of the good things in their life. Remind them of great past events that grew out of crappy past events. Get their mind on thoughts that will provide more pleasant chemistry—thoughts that will heal them instantaneously because their thoughts are where their emotions are born. And by leading them to better chemistry you’ll lead them to higher perspectives that feel less foreboding.

Being sad or angry or hurt feels good for a time. But that time passes fairly quickly. Learn to help your friends shift to better quality thinking. The more you help them the more you’ll wire that concept into your own brain. You’ll just take it for granted that you can change moods quickly and easily. And because you know you can, you will. And just like people die deaths of a thousand tiny cuts, you will save yourself with a thousand tiny thought-shifts a day. That is why they call it a practice.

Don’t over-think painful experiences. That only continues their effect. Free yourself from unnecessary suffering and learn to help guide those you love to more enriching thinking. Don’t rush them. Don’t push with your thoughts. Just be patient. Trust me—when you’re in the right head-space, what-to-say will seem to come to you from out of nowhere. And when you hear it you will be just as amazed as the person you say it to. Because it will be that special kind of brilliant wisdom that can only come from the pure, infinite genius that is The Universe.

peace. s