Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, little things........

Today I'm thinking about little things. Small acts of kindness that make a big impact. At the school where I teach, we encourage the kids to think about kindnesses and how those don't have to cost money - a gift of friendship, helpfulness, or an expression of gratitude can mean a lot. 

In the book "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, he claims everyone "fits" into one of five categories in the way they give and receive love. They are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. Really, none of those cost money - even receiving gifts can be free (see above). 

So, this made me think................

Words of affirmation - how often do we really get those? When was the last time you thanked someone just for being the awesome person they already are? Isn't it amazing to be told you've done a good job or made a difference to someone? Can you take a compliment without adding a "yes, but"? If you THINK it, say it - especially if it's positive. So often we think good thoughts about others but we don't share them. 

Acts of service - these don't have to be huge! You can simply do a chore, pick something up off the floor, hold a door or clear someone's plate for them. Sure, you can do something big - mow your neighbor's lawn, help someone around the house, offer your woodworking skills to build a theater set or a wheelchair ramp......but you can also just pitch in without being asked. Simple. 

Receiving gifts - who doesn't love a beautifully wrapped present? And the anticipation of finding out what's inside? But even a piece of chocolate left at their desk, or a thoughtfully written card can lift someone's spirits. Handmade gifts come with love and the knowledge that someone thought of you while creating it. 

Quality time - this one is pretty big. We're all so busy - who hasn't let friendships fall by the wayside or let the kids indulge in too much screen time because we're just too swamped to deal with everything all at once? Carving out a few hours to spend with friends seems like a huge undertaking these days, but what about an hour for coffee? Or twenty minutes grocery shopping side-by-side with someone you love to talk to? Or 15 minutes of face-to-face interaction away from screens and distractions. A ten-minute walk can do wonders. 

Physical touch - if you're a young mom, nursing a baby and juggling a toddler, chances are you're "touched out" - the thought of one more person laying their hands on you is enough to make you scream. But the truth is, too many of us don't receive any physical touch at all during the day. We work side-by-side, but we keep our invisible walls up. Sure, not everyone likes to be hugged, but a pat on the arm or back can be reassuring. This one is tricky - and runs the gamut of personal boundaries, but a hug can relieve stress, lower your blood pressure, alleviate anxiety and they're even good for your heart! 

So, maybe tomorrow you can do five things: 1. Say something nice to someone, 2. Do a small act of service (ask yourself, how can I help?), 3. Leave a little something for someone - a note, a piece of candy, a beautiful leaf you found in the parking lot - on their desk, on their pillow, somewhere they will see it, 4. Spend a few minutes with someone you care about. If you only have a short time, ask them how they're doing and really listen. If you have longer, go on a walk or linger over a drink, 5. Hug someone! 

Happy Monday! 

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