If you know anything about me, you know I’m a big proponent of kindness. Doing nice things for others doesn’t just help the other person, it helps you as well. You momentarily forget about yourself and your own troubles. You uplift someone else. You get a rush of good feelings. And if they express gratitude to you, it launches even more good feelings within you. It’s a wonderful thing.
This morning I saw a homeless man on a park bench. He had all his worldly possessions in a few bags and backpacks around him. I decided to make his day a little better.
I crossed the street and greeted him. “Good morning! I have an odd request for you.”
He gave me his full attention. “Okay.”
“Tell me something good that happened to you this week.”
He gave me a surprised expression, but didn’t hesitate. “Well, my memory has been kind of a fog these days, but I did get approved for Section 8.” (This is housing assistance.) He went on to talk about his relationship with his father, his overcoming of alcoholism, and his good relationship with the police. He had a lot to say!
When he finished, I said, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to make your day a little better.” And then I gave him $10.
“Oh! Thank you so much!” He held up his fist for a fist-bump. “This is so nice. What’s your name?”
We began talking about Zooey Deschanel, who apparently has a sister.
His friend soon arrived and sat on the bench. I asked him the same question. He answered, “Something good? Well, I made it here!”
I smiled and gave him $10 as well.
“Thank you!” He grinned with wonder and shook my hand.
I told them to have a great day and crossed the street back to my office. As I walked away, I heard the first guy say, “Wow.”
I had made their day, and it felt GOOD. It felt great, actually! When I got back to my desk, I felt lighter. Happier. Maybe even glowing. When a coworker arrived for work, I sang good morning. Like, actually sang it. Granted it was badly and I may have injured the poor man’s eardrums, but still, I didn’t care because I had fantastic vibes running through me.
You can do the same for yourself. You don’t have to give away money. You can give your time. I decided to converse with the homeless guys, even though I dislike talking to strangers, because I imagine it gets lonely out on the streets with so much time spent alone. With so few people who care about you. I gave them my time and energy, and it made them feel good, which in turn made me feel good.
Find ways to help people. Expect nothing in return. Feel good. It’s a wonderful formula for enhancing your well-being.