For this week's posts, the more we pump hatred, isolation, and nastiness into our society, the more we create a nasty world in which it is harder and harder to survive and possibly thrive. If we want the world to change, we need to change our behavior.
I drink coffee with a guy called Grizz. Grizz is magic when he smiles at strangers. Everywhere we go, he meets people. His smile makes people feel welcome. And he doesn't discriminate. There is one criteria for getting a smile from Grizz - you must be breathing. (I think he's prejudiced against the dead, but that's a topic for another time.) And life has been better since I have known him. We have grand adventures that usually begin with him smiling and offering a few kind words.
Unlike Grizz, I very seldom know what to say to people when I first meet them. But it really doesn't matter. Say hi and smile. Smiles change people. It's amazing. Most of them smile back. Some of them look at you like you're crazy. Some of them look at you with suspicion. Me, I like all three responses. Whatever it is, it takes that person out of their own thoughts for just a second. My hope is that they see some dorky guy acknowledging them as another human being who deserves a little respect and recognition. My hope is that they have a better day because I smiled at them.
So let's start this week simple - smile. Add to that simple acts that offer kindness, respect, and dignity to others. Be aware of others. (You may need to pay a little less attention to your phone.) Make a conscious choice for better. Do not sit around (or jump online) and complain unless it is a precursor to positive action. Open a door for someone. Say "Bless you" to a stranger who sneezes. Wish a stranger a good day, especially when you see that they are not having a good day. Offer kindness with no strings and no expectations. If everyone is wandering around thinking that humanity is going to hell in a bucket, do something to prove everyone wrong.
Need a more specific example? Buy someone an unexpected taco. I tried that a few nights ago - that $1.79 plus tax brought a lot of happiness for several people. Kindness has ripple effects.
The goal is not to change the world with a single smile. It is to start a wave of smiles that sweeps through a lot of darkness. You may not have the ability to solve everything, but a smile is a big step when so many people are lost and hurting.
May the little things make big differences.
Tomorrow's topic: Appreciate