(And yourself at the same time)
The world is a harsh place. This year we understand that more then most and as we move into the holiday season and the darkness that over casts the skies, there are things that we need to consider to boost our mood and the moods of those around us. This is not something that I myself am particularly good at. I was not born into a family of super sunshine people. In fact my cousins call my father “Uncle Suck” because his brothers call him “Suck”. If you haven’t guessed yet, this is because his entire life he was always saying that “This sucks”. Funny right? Well probably not when your daughter (aka me) starts saying that everything sucks in her preteen years too.
It wasn’t until I got older that I really sy=tarted to work on myself. Like many people (And if you haven’t reached this stage you’re going to get there) I started to really consider myself and the personal work that I had to do to be a happy, well adjusted adult in my mid 20’s- early 30’s. I knew that I didn’t want to be that ways forever and that being this downer was…well a downer to me and others around me. So I started to really consider what I could do to retrain my brain and contribute to making myself and to making others happy.
Service. Oh god it sounds so time consuming doesn’t it? Well it can be and if you have time to volunteer you should most certainly do it. Even if you don’t have time you should consider making a day once every few months to do it. Not only is it great for you and the community but it gives you a chance to socialize. In 2020, let’s face it, if you are being responsible, socializing can be really hard to do. For me these are things like beach clean ups and environmental stuff.
But for people that can’t really do that because of their jobs or their kids, there are ways you can intergrate service into your everyday life that is really going to help your mood and other peoples moods too. Being altruistic, even in the most mundane everyday ways has actually been shown to alter brain chemistry, physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing and create a contagious effect that will spread farther then you just buying someone a cup of coffee.
Compliments to Strangers
I try to compliment a stranger at least once a day. I don’t know when it was but someone when I started working on myself walked up to me and told me that I had beautiful eyes. It wasn’t creepy, it wasn’t weird. It was just a simple “Good god has anyone told you you’re eyes are amazing? I just wanted you to know.” We had never met before. I was just walking on the street. It was this weird feeling that in this bustling world, someone had taken a brief, second out of their lives to tell me something that they noticed. In a world that’s so big, sometimes we keep our heads down, we’re afraid that if we tell someone something that we notice that they will take it the wrong way. And sometimes they do…sometimes they are just in shock for a moment because this sort of thing has become so rare in a person to person world. But then they go about the rest of their day feeling uplifted, feeling good. It doesn’t have to be something physical. it can be something like their outfit is great. Like their nails are the bomb. Anything really. But it will change their day.
Not only that but it makes you notice something, something beautiful in everyone that you see on the street. Something besides just thinness. Something that is truly 100% unique and beautiful. Hair, eyes, tattoos, nails, clothes, shoes, smiles, laughs…all of these things are beautiful and it isn’t a crime to notice them. In fact most women will tell you that they actually work for them.
It can be hard to get out of our shell and do this but maybe that’s something that can be worked on. You don’t know how hard their day or week or life has been. Be awkward for a moment to make it better.
Literally Pay it Forward
Okay I will admit it. If you haven’t guessed, I don’t make a ton of money. I was in service work for a while and at 34, just got health insurance through a new job a year ago. I live with my parents because it makes more financial sense and, like so many people (And more after the Pandemic) am trying to p[ay off my debt. But I’m better off then when I was in the service industry so on payday, I tip big. Like leave a 20 in the tip jar at Dunkin Donuts big. What does that mean for my wallet? It means I maybe stay off amazon or eat at home. What did it mean when I was a service worker when someone did that for me though? It meant that I can put gas in my car. Sometimes it meant I could actually pay my electric bill or buy some groceries. It made up for the Karen that told me her coffee was too cold after she put half a cup of half and half in. It made a huge fucking difference. We had a customer once give us cards with a $50 in it. I swear I cried. Even if this might seem like alot…its not for making someone that I see almost every day that happy.
Another way to go about this that I absolutely love is to buy coffee for the person behind you. Its not creepy; its nice and if you feel awkward about it, give the cashier a five and tell them and don’t say a thing to the person behind you. They’ll find out and how great is that a way to start a morning?
Follow Your Gut
If you think it will do good for someone…do it. Don’t over think it. Don’t feel like you have to advertise it. Just do it. There have been plenty of times in my life where I will stop something that I’m doing it drive to work when I see something that needs to be done or something that cause others happiness. Here is an example that will more then often help in someone life. I was are driving to the grocery store and I saw a dog wandering on the side of the road. Pulling over onto the shoulder I carefully got out of the car, making sure to keep a distance because I have done this before and gotten growled at by a not so friendly dog, and started talking to him. He came running up and jumped into the back of the car. Abandoning my grocery trip because it was much less important right now then this poor chocolate lab getting hit on a busy road, I took it to Petsmart, got his chip scanned and had the owner called. It took a while to get a hold of her, in which I took this dog home and had him running around the back road. The owner finally called back in literal tears. She thought that this dog was gone forever.
It might not seem like an act of service…but it is. What if this dog had gotten hit? It would have devastated this family. There is always something that you can do to help. Always. Just follow your inspiration/ gut to find it.