Share the Love (Repost from May 2011)

It is no secret that we are living in turbulent times. Amidst the tragic disaster in Japan (God please bless all those affected) and the incidence of political, economic, and social instability in our world, we as a human family need each other now as much as ever. I urge you to do whatever you feel you need to do in order to make things better. Donate, volunteer, pray. But just remember that each moment of our lives is an opportunity to do good, to be kind. Be considerate of each and every person you meet and know. Please. I know we sometimes want to spring to action whenever something world-threatening happens. But we never need an excuse to show each other love and appreciation every single day. These are my ideas of some small, simple ways we can show others that they matter. Please add your own. I'd love to know your ideas, too.

 1) Smile. This sounds like a no-brainer, but don't you feel good whenever someone looks like they are genuinely happy to see you? Why wouldn't we do this for everyone else?

 2) Make eye contact. Let people feel like they are seen and that they matter.

 3) Remember names. People often tell me they have a hard time with names. So try to remember anyway. If it's that much harder for you, it means that much more to the person whose name you remember. According to Dale Carnegie of How to Win Friends and Influence People, a person's name is the single sweetest sound in the human language to that person.

 4) Listen and ask questions. Everyone has a story and everyone wants to be heard. Caring about one another means that we care about what someone else has to say instead of wanting only our voice to be heard.

 5) Say "please" and "thank you".  I have pretty rigid manners, but I always appreciate it when people use these words. I think it shows that you are worth the extra syllables and courtesy. And I think it's worth the additional effort.

 6) Hold the door. I think it's nice to hold the door open for the person behind you. I try to do this because if a person is a few steps behind me, it saves him or her the trouble of reaching forward to catch the door. And it only takes an extra second of my time.

 7) Pay attention. If you really don't need to be texting when you're with another person, try not to. Let that person in the flesh know that they are deserving of your full attention.

8) Volunteer, just for the sake of it. If you have the time, I think it's a lovely idea to devote a few hours of your week or month to a charity or program. And do it just because. I do a few hours of weekly hospital volunteering, originally for an internship, but I continued because why not? It doesn't cost me anything and I often meet amazing and inspiring people. Sometimes I feel like I do it for myself. But other times someone will give me a very sincere thank you--and I'm glad I could be there.

 9)(This is for bloggers specifically): Leave comments for fellow bloggers. Just because it's nice! I like commenting on genuinely good and meaningful content because I want the author to feel recognized and appreciated. It takes some guts to open yourself up on a blog. Comment to say "Yes, I hear you!", "Yes, I appreciate what you have to say!" Face it--we all love comments. They make us feel good. Share that feeling!

 10) Give sincere, honest compliments and appreciation. This entire list is about showing others we appreciate them, so this is the obvious way. Tell someone what a great guy or girl he or she is--it's likely they don't hear it enough, and no one will refuse a sincere, kind remark. If it'll make them smile, why not? I know this wasn't about my outfit today or anything like that, but I wanted to send out some nice thoughts and good intentions into the blogosphere. Perhaps it will inspire at least one other person to share all the love he or she can with someone else. I know that I'm going to try, every day. Let's take care of each other the best way we can, can't we?



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