Do you know the feeling you get when you do something nice for another person, something unexpected, sometimes simple sometimes extravagant? It's an amazing feeling not just for the person you are doing something unexpectedly nice for, but also for yourself. It creates a wave of joy which, often, has a ripple effect, inspiring people to spread the feeling of unexpected happiness.
In todays society it is all too easy to get caught up in your own little world, letting stress levels build up, creating pressure that, all too often, causes the corners of our mouth to be pulled down by gravity instead of smile. Sometimes we forget to open our eyes and look around, acknowledge the world we live in, acknowledge the people who live in this world. The ironic thing is, that it can be so much easier and simpler to make someone smile, to make ourselves smile, than we think. I am learning that true happiness comes from the little things, because they begin to compile, like little puzzle pieces, creating a patchwork of happiness. Moments of happiness compiled. In saying that, Happiness can come from big things too, like a house, money, success, but they tend to be temporary gratifications, unless we make them a piece of the puzzle and they fit in to the picture of happiness.
An amazing friend from the US came to visit me this winter - Jamie-Lynne. She is truly one of a kind with an incredibly big heart, a friendship I know will last forever. Before I went to visit her in the states we did a countdown, which consisted of us doing as many push-ups, squats and crunches as days were remaining until I got there (so 30days would mean 3x30 of each of the exercises). Jamie loved the idea, and never whinged at all (she sais with a tone of sarcasm in her voice), but at least the number kept decreasing as opposed to increasing. When the time arrived for the next countdown we decided to do something more selfless. Something that went beyond gratifying our own happiness. With that in mind I came up with the spontanious idea of doing a RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS everyday. It didn't have to be a certain shape or form, the only criteria was that it came from the heart. We began our countdown with a wave of enthusiasm, texting one another everyday about what RAK we had done today and the affect it had on the receiving person. Through our exchanges we got double gratification, first we were gratified by doing the RAK then we doubled up on that emotion by telling one another and encouraging one another.
In the beginning it was, speaking for myself, a challenge to come up with the right kind of ideas, always feeling a little pressure like what I was doing was maybe not quite enough. Until the moment I realized that by feeling that way, I was missing the point. I began to learn that the nicest Acts of Kindness are on a personal level as opposed to a materialistic level. Sitting down for coffee and acknowledging the person sitting beside you, engaging in conversation and then, if conversation continues, Randomly shout them another coffee. It can be an honest compliment, a genuine smile or helping someone carry their groceries to the car.
The story that captures the core of this challenge the most is the day Jamie went to Starbucks (drive through) to get a coffee and told the lady at the counter that she would like to pay for the order of the person behind her. As Jamie went back that afternoon to get another coffee (Coffee is awesome!!) the lady at the counter told her that she had created a ripple effect and that the next 5, or so, cars behind her paid for the order of the person behind them. I mean seriously, aren't you just smiling hearing that? I love it!!
As the time continued to pass I began realizing that Random Acts of Kindness were becoming like second nature to me. I began thinking less about what I could do today (as often I woke up in the morning pre-planning what I could do today), and rather went with the flow and took the opportunites when they presented themselves. I began growing more aware of the life around me, paying more attention to the people passing me by, be more aware of the expression on my face. If I could randomly give an elderly person a lift home from the supermarket, or buy the homeless guy some food for his loyal animals, or send someone a random text thanking them for who they are, I would be aware of it and do it.
The reward of a true and genuine smile is incredible, as the reciprocating persons eyes light up with surprise. It is a truly addictive feeling, that warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness.
My picture of happiness is becoming more and more colorful day by day, its an artwork that is priceless. As Mum always says to me "its the little things that count", those words ring a sound of truth.
Hey, thakyou for you. Thankyou for reading. SMILE