Mental Health · Personal

A Little Encouragement

We all need a boost every now and then, a little pat on the back, or a “hey, nice job.” I think of them as random acts of kindness. Unsolicited encouragement can change someone’s day, or maybe even their outlook on life. And it barely takes any effort.

We often get caught up in our personal drama, frustrations, and issues. The alarm doesn’t wake you up on time and you get to work late, or maybe your car is starting to make a weird noise under the hood. We have issues getting our credit or debit cards to work in the checkout line at the grocery store or our latest book isn’t getting any sales online. These aren’t world-ending problems. They’re inconveniences, but in our minds they seem much bigger than they really are.

What we forget is that everyone is having these moments. All of us. No one is immune from having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month. All those little inconveniences build and we end up in a bad mood, irritable, frustrated, and it may even bring us to tears.

It’s times like this when we need a little encouragement, a light in the darkness. Unfortunately, we don’t always get it. That’s why I’m a proponent of trying to say something encouraging to a handful of strangers every day. Not only does it usually make them smile, but it makes me smile, as well. In effect, it’s a bit of stress release for both of us.

Generally, I try to compliments someone’s clothes. “Hey, nice shoes” or “That color looks fantastic on you.” Probably the easiest thing to do is hold the door for a stranger. When they thank me, I respond with, “Not a problem, hope you have a great day.” If they look unhappy or miserable, then I’ll say, “I hope your day gets better.”

I know, they’re just words, right? But to someone having a bad day it might make them smile, or at least make them pause for a moment and consider the fact that a stranger was nice to them for no reason. My secret hope is that they then pass that along to someone else they encounter.

I don’t kid myself into thinking this is going to change the world for the better, but it may make one person’s day a little brighter. If nothing else, it makes me feel good.

My challenge to you is to try this, see if you can make this a habit in your daily life. Compliment someone, maybe pay for a stranger’s coffee, hold a door for them and wish them a wonderful day. I think you’ll find it’s addicting.


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