Today has been a rough day. I had issues with clients, didn’t sleep well the night before, wasn’t able to exercise this morning, the list just goes on and on, and as I’m finally trying to de-stress and prepare for another day (it’s only Wednesday, two more days to go!) I was reflecting on what happened today, and realized there were a few bright spots, and they were completely unexpected, but helped me to feel better during some of the downsides of the day.
After having a flood of clients that had some issue or another (I’m not going to bore you with the details, but it wasn’t a slow email day, we’ll put it that way), I got one that was fine with what I said and included a smiley in the email. Now, to most, that’s not a big deal. But after having a super stress filled day, I really appreciated having that client send me that. Now, they had no idea that I was having a rough day, or wasn’t in the best mood (sleep deprivation, it’s bad), so to them, it wasn’t a big deal. But to me, it made me smile and helped my mood. Sure, it’s a small thing, but it was a happy client, and that meant something to me. It was a nice gesture.
Which then got me thinking, how often do we not do something so simple as smile at someone we pass by, or wave at the neighbor as we drive past them? If we don’t know them, many of us don’t do this. Is it because we think the person may look at us funny? Or may wonder, why are they waving at me? Are we really going to be so wrapped up in our own worlds that we care? A person smiling may be what someone needs after a terrible day. Maybe they have a sick child at home, and they’re grabbing soup for their sick kid, and a smile would help them as they rush through the store. You never know what someone else is going through, and you never know what little thing could make their lives better.
There are some definite things that definitely don’t help though, even if you mean well. I’ve had bad days and had to run to the store after, and someone (usually some guy) would tell me to “stop looking so glum and smile.” Do NOT ever tell me to smile. I am a very cheerful person usually, and someone telling me to smile is not a good way to make me smile. It’s a good way to piss me off even more. So please, you can smile at someone, but don’t tell them what to do. You don’t know what is going on in their lives, I had just recently had a family member diagnosed with cancer when this incident occurred, so I really was having a hard time finding things to smile about. So be considerate, because telling someone to stop looking down, probably isn’t doing much to actually help their mood. If anything, that could make it worse.
So I challenge you: be extra kind to everyone you meet. Wave at the neighbors (even the ones with the obnoxious kid who has hit your car with a baseball), smile and say hello to the cashier at the store (they deal with people all shift long, they could be having a rough day too), and maybe do something small for someone. A little kindness goes a long way, and even if it is something as simple as a smile.
Overall though, I challenge you to stop and find little things to be happy about and grateful for. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our problems, and issues, and it can be easy to forget about the little blessings that are placed in your life. Maybe, it’s a cool breeze after an extremely hot day. Or maybe, it’s the smell of citrus in the air. Or seeing a rainbow after a storm. Sure, those are all little things that we rarely take into account because we are so busy rushing around. But sometimes, those are the little things that can help lift our spirits when life gets tough.