I actually can’t quite believe that Christmas is just over a week away and that we are fully in the swing of the holidays. I really love the holidays but sometimes it feels easy to get lost in the busyness of it and lose sight of what actually makes the holidays feel special: connection. Often when we think of this we think of it in terms of our relationships with those we love. This is definitely true, and absolutely important, but I think sometimes connecting with our larger community, even those we don’t know can make our heart feel full. One of the ways that I think can make you feel this way is by engaging in some random acts of kindness.
It can be a beautiful thing to give to others unexpectedly and doing so can change our perspective, whether it be for a moment or a lifetime. The act of giving can give more in return than it takes. It can take us out of our head and remove some of the stress of the holidays by replacing it with moments of joy. When it comes to these acts they can be as big or as small as you choose and to make this point I am going to tell you a story.
I have a client who, when in high school, shared a class with a girl whose locker was near hers. She didn’t know the girl outside of recognizing her from class but she used to smile at her every time she saw her because she looked a lot like her boyfriend’s sister. She really didn’t think twice about it until the end of the year when she was called into the office. When she got there she was given a card by the secretary with her name on it, inside it said “I want to say thank you for everything – when I first arrived at this school I was suicidal. Each day when you would smile at me in the hallway it gave me hope that life would get better. Thank you for saving my life. ”
The whole point in telling you this story is simply to say it is amazing how doing the smallest thing, whether that be smiling at a stranger, acknowledging the homeless person on the street, or buying someone’s coffee, can make a world of difference to them, and then vicariously to you. So I would encourage you to reach outside of yourself this holiday season to someone you don’t know and do something kind, whatever that may be and feel the warmth that comes from it. It is easy in life to be cynical and to judge others especially when we are overwhelmed with our own to-do lists, but when has that ever made someone feel more content? Give of yourself today and at every moment possible and see how you feel as a result. Let me know what you have done in the comments section below. Remember, something as simple as a cup of coffee or a smile can make all the difference to someone else.