Let me tell you a secret. I am NOT a touchy-feely person. I’m not mushy. I don’t cry. I don’t even really give hugs, aside from those with my little girls and my husband, and occasionally my girlfriends who are all…
sadly God love ’em…huggers. The things that get me choked up are pride for my little girls, Christmas music in church (I have a thing for Christmas music), moving speeches by political leaders (Martin Luther King, Jr. anyone???), and every single time I hear a particular Stevie Wonder song about injustice (Living For the City…buy it…it’s amazing)? Forget about it. I come close to weeping. No seriously…I can’t even sing it in the car…I have to shut my mouth to stop myself from crying (and those who know me best know I rarely shut my mouth).
For the most part, though, I am sarcastic and dry. I can be judgmental, and wickedly funny while doing so, but I try to keep that to a minimum. When my girlfriends and I get together we are witty, and hilarious, and the sarcasm and the dry humor run thick. These are some of the traits that I, and my friends, like MOST about me. It’s not in my nature to be overly warm and fuzzy. I can be inspiring but I usually do so with tough love and encouragement. Not mushy bullsh-t.
That said…ahem…the past week has been rough. I was sick, and discouraged, and feeling sorry for myself, and trying to find inspiration. Anywhere. Facebook feels like a virtual war zone right now. Tucked snug between pictures of all of our kids’ first days of school, and reminders of upcoming “friends'” birthdays, are rants about politics. Arguments between “friends” who apparently believe they are going to change each other’s minds within the confines of the comments section of status updates. Umm…yeah…good luck with that.
I began my week feeling pretty blue. Because I like politics I tuned into the Republican National Convention last week and did the same for the Democratic National Convention this week. To be honest, I haven’t paid much attention. And not just recently, I mean for the past five or ten years. It all just made me too mad. But this year, for several reasons, I’m fired up. And I wanted to hear what everyone had to say.
Hopefully if you watched any of either convention, regardless of which party you’re loyal to, you found something about which to be inspired. You heard words that made you feel like maybe, just maybe, doing things to improve our communities was within our reach and in fact possible. For me that happened last night.
I woke up this morning with a renewed need to improve my community. To fight for the things about which I’m passionate. To…oh I don’t know…PARTICIPATE in the process of making this world a better place for my little girls. When I got to work, however, the feelings of being stuck and unhappy started to creep back in. But I was on a Clinton high, damn it, and I wasn’t going to let myself fall back into the misery I’ve felt over the past seven days.
I started to think about real ways, practical ways, action steps that I could immediately take to a) make myself feel better, and b) make a difference within my circle of influence. And you know what I came up with? Kindness.
This right here? This is why I spent so much time earlier in this post reassuring you that I am in no way warm and fuzzy. Because I’m not. I swear.
But here’s the thing about kindness. People need it. People are longing for it. Lately I’ve felt inundated with animosity and hate and a constant spotlight on our differences. There doesn’t seem to be any real campaign in the name of kindness. I started to think about the people within my small community that need something. We all do. And I began sending emails.
A girlfriend’s teenage daughter is going through a challenging time. So I emailed my girlfriend and asked if she thought her daughter would appreciate notes from a woman who is on the outside of her situation. Notes of encouragement and support and love. She gave me her blessing and I’m sending the first in tomorrow’s mail.
I have two friends who are single and deserve someone amazing. And for a while I’ve thought that maybe they deserve each other? I emailed them and told them they should be dating. Immediately.
I put a good word in for a kid who deserves a chance at an internship, or a job, and would otherwise never be in the situation to ask for it himself.
And, while I’m aware that this here isn’t rocket science, guess what happened? I started to feel not only better, not only great, but f-cking remarkable. Because being kind to others? Doing good on behalf of others? Dreaming up good things for others? THAT is what makes me tick. THAT is what I can throw myself into and feel great about at the end of a day. THAT is what makes me feel fulfilled. THAT is what good intentioned politicians, on either side of the aisle, must believe they are doing when they jump into this crazy political ring.
I won’t get into why THAT was what my husband and I ended up spending our entire hour of therapy discussing tonight…at least not today…but what if I did this EVERY day? Even if I just did one (or five) good thing for someone else each day…wouldn’t that make me so much happier? What if each one of us did one good thing for someone else each day? Can you imagine the heart swells and the feelings of accomplishment and the rising of the tides lifting all boats?
That’s when, at work, a lightbulb popped on above my head and I thought ‘I want to be a KINDNESS CONSULTANT!!!’ And then I felt a little nauseous because…seriously? Could that sound anymore fluffy or warm or fuzzy or touchy-feely? Bleck! But…but…oh my gosh wouldn’t that be so much fun???
Anyone know any large corporations hiring Kindness Consultants? No? Okay then. I guess I’ll freelance.
TODAY: What if I commit one (or five) acts of kindness to those who truly need it every day? What if my happiness increases exponentially by way of doing good for others?