About a year ago, I was headed to a dermatologist appointment. I was running late, as usual, and cursing out every single person in front of me that was making me even later. I felt myself getting caught up in what I see quite often on other people’s faces, especially in this overly-congested area where everyone seems to always be in a rush; a mix of a little frustration and some self-importance.
Anyhow, I was slowly inching toward a light I needed to get through desperately (gag) when I spotted a woman trying to make a left-hand turn out of a parking lot. I may have appeared a little annoyed, but nonetheless, I paused and gave her enough room to let her make the turn. She made eye contact with me, waved and flashed me a huge smile. It certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve stopped to let someone make a turn, but something made me pause to focus on what I was feeling at that very moment.
I instantly felt better; I was relieved of the frustration that was slowly building up inside of me. It was then that I realized that – even though my gesture was so small, and her gesture in return was so simple – that’s all it took for me to forget about what was plaguing me at the moment. My own happiness came from making someone else happy. I realized then that being 5 minutes late for an appointment where I was just going to sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes anyway just didn’t matter. What does matter? Pausing to be kind.
If helping someone out in such a minor way, and in turn feeling appreciated for it, can make such a big impact on your mood, imagine what an even bigger gesture of kindness can do for all of us. We are all constantly chasing happiness in the form of money, homes and cars, but what if happiness is found simply in just being kind to and considerate of others? Everyone today is so focused on finding their own happiness in material things, they’re losing sight of what truly matters. Your own happiness has nothing to do with making yourself happy.
If you’re still reading this, promise me something: the next time you’re feeling crummy, test this little theory out. During this “season of giving,” and throughout the rest of the coming year, don’t just focus on the presents. BE PRESENT.
Give a gift to yourself by pausing to let someone else make that left-hand turn. Smile at a stranger when you’re walking past them on the street. Find your passion and make other people’s lives better with it. Take the time to express your appreciation for the kind gestures that others extend toward you. Whether it’s a big way or a small way that you’re impacting the happiness of others, run with it – and enjoy every minute.
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