“You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.”
– Zig Ziglar
For those of you living in warm, southern, dreamlike locations where sunshine on your doorstep brings a smile to your face every day, I applaud you for choosing your living location so wisely (while turning green in the face as I unfortunately did not choose such a place). For the rest of us, we are stuck here in this polar vortex of winter that seems to get worse each day rather than better. Spring, if it still exists, is such a distant memory, many of us doubt if it is truly still coming. And if you are at all like me, your mood is getting sucked down right with the temperatures. Now typically this seasonal distress is something that is only cured by some regular soaking up of the vitamin D. However, for those of us who don’t have vacation days and piles of money just lying around waiting for us to take up and fly to the Bahamas for the week, there has to be other methods of bringing sunshine and cheer into our otherwise blah days upon blah days.
Normally the list of things I would suggest to add a little pep to your step are very ME oriented (or YOU to those of you reading this). Go pamper yourself. Dress up in an outfit that you truly love. Take the time to do your hair nice. Exercise. Plan a fun evening out with friends. Etc, etc, etc. The focus of this post though is a bit different. I want to flip life on its head, taking the attention away from ourselves and putting it on others.
Recently, I was the recipient of a lovely care package from one of my darling long distance friends. The package came as a total surprise and was an absolute highlight of my day. Suddenly, I went from feeling drab and down to feeling loved and remembered and totally blessed. The literal sun was not shining in the sky, but in all other aspects of my life, I was definitely basking in its rays. And this little moment, this little act of receiving the package that totally switched my day from gray to grand, got me thinking. What would happen if during these winter months, instead of focusing on our own woes, we started focusing on ways to lift others out of their bad days?
I personally have always been a lover of greeting cards. I. Love. Sending. Cards. Love it. I can spend hours in the card aisle picking out the perfect card for one of my friends. My favorite time to send them is when I am sure the person is not expecting it. The random ‘Hello, I love you.’ is so much more fun to me than the expected holiday card. One of my friends since 7th grade once joked that her husband had asked her suspiciously about a box full of cards that she was keeping (clearly imagining in his head that she was still harboring notes from past men in her life). She just laughed and informed him that she had saved all of my cards to her, and what can I say, if you’re friends with me for that long, it adds up.
My cousin is another person who is exceptionally gifted at the sending-love-from-afar skill. I can’t tell you how many times she has pulled me up from a bad mood with a sweet note or small little gift in the mail. Another friend once surprised me with a simple flower on my car windshield on an especially stressful day. I know what you’re thinking right now, dang that girl has top-notch family and friends, and yes, you are absolutely correct, I do.
I can think of times where I woke to randomly find a treat from my roommate packed into my lunch for the day as a surprise, or was given extra cash by my father for shopping when I was at the age where parents have long since stopped paying for stuff like that. Or even, from the random stranger in the grocery store, where they left money to pay for the person after them.
So, what is my suggestion for us all to pull ourselves out of this giant slushy moody black hole that is known as winter? Let’s flip our mindsets. Let’s pull our focus away from our own misery and instead try to take a little time to bring sunshine to someone else’s day. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. Leave a few bucks to cover the coffee of the person behind you in line. Write a note to one of your roommates, or spouse, thanking them for something they have done, or wishing them a good day. Send a card. Leave a small gift. Clean or cook or complete some other task that another person would normally have to do.
Amazingly, this small act will not only cheer up someone you love, but will bring warmth to your heart as well. And as always, I am a firm believer in karma. Let’s put goodness into the world, and surely, we will get goodness out.
P.S. Here’s a little photo to brighten your day, because let’s face it, how can you look at this little diva and not smile?! (And by little diva I am referring to my sweet niece to the right, and not my wintery self below!)
Hugs and love,