One thing I am constantly trying to teach my kiddos at school is that no matter what, no matter what, we are always responsible for how we act no matter how we feel. In doing this, I’m constantly reminding myself of the same thing. There are a lot of mornings that I really don’t want anyone, let alone 25 preschoolers, talking to me and asking questions because I haven’t had at least three cups of coffee. But, regardless of how I feel, I still have to have a genuine smile on my face and a happy heart, ready to have a lovely day. It’s a choice, you know?!? I’ve found there are several ways to ensure I have the best day I could possibly have.
1. Smile at strangers. You never know what battle a person is fighting. Smile at your cashier. Smile at the people in the grocery store. Your smile can bring healing. Plus, it makes you feel good.
2. SLOW DOWN. Take time to enjoy your day. I know we can get so busy and caught up in everything that is going on around us. But slow down and enjoy the view, enjoy the people around you, and don’t get so busy that you forget what’s most important in life.
3. Say thank you. Sometimes, just showing a little appreciation for even something simple can make all the difference. When people hear the words “thank you,” they feel appreciated. I know from my own experience that when a coworker tells me thank you, even for the simplest of things, it makes me want to help them even more because they didn’t overlook my gesture. They truly appreciated what I did for them.
4. Give lots of compliments. And MEAN them. Don’t just start handing out fake compliments for the heck of it. Giving a compliment doesn’t have to mean you tell someone they look pretty or their outfit is cute. There’s a lady that I work with who is the best story teller on planet Earth. When she tells stories to my kiddos, they are all ears and their interaction with her is so neat to watch. That’s something that I can compliment her on and that lets her know I genuinely appreciate her story time with my kids.
5. Dress nicely. First let me make a confession. I LOVE to be comfortable, meaning I love to be in sweatpants and a t-shirt with my hair pulled back. Some days, I don’t feel like choosing an outfit or making myself presentable to society. But when I do, I always feel better about myself and I have more confidence than I would in frumpy, baggy, sweats.
6. Observe and listen. Don’t have tunnel vision. Don’t be narrow-minded. Imagine putting a straw up to one eye and closing the other, making it to where the only vision you had was through the tiny hole in the straw. You would miss out on so much that was going on around you. Instead, be observant. Look all around and notice what and who is around you. Notice your surroundings. And listen. Listen to those around you. Listen to what’s going on. The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
7. Be charming. No one likes to be around Negative Nancy. Let your personality be attractive to those around you.
8. Laugh. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Laugh at things that would normally make you upset. A few days ago, I was walking across the gym at work and I had a cup full of rice in my hands for a project I was working on with my kids. Right as I walking through the gym, one of the kids through a ball in my direction and it landed right on top of the cup, sending the cup and rice flying everywhere. I could’ve been upset, but instead I just laughed because I’m sure the look of shock and surprise on my face was hilarious to everyone else around me and really, what good would it have done to get angry? Then I’d just be mad, crawling around on the floor picking up rice. Life is too short. Being happy is a choice.
9. Be kind. NO exceptions. Everyone is familiar with the verse that says to “love thy neighbor.” It doesn’t say to love your neighbor only if they live or act the way you think they should. It simply says love your neighbor. That means you love no matter what. Love thy neighbor– thy homeless neighbor, thy Muslim neighbor, thy black neighbor, thy gay neighbor, thy white neighbor, thy Jewish neighbor, thy Christian neighbor, thy atheist neighbor, thy racist neighbor, thy addicted neighbor–no exceptions.
10. Wish others a lovely day. I try to make it a point to tell every single parent that drops their kids off in the morning to have a good day. Personally, something as simple as someone telling me to have a good day has made all the difference in the world for me at times. I’ve been rushed, stressed, overwhelmed, and someone, maybe the cashier at the gas station where I stop to get a drink, smiles and tells me to have a good day and that act of kindness reminds me that I really do have a lot to be thankful for and I need to remember that it could be a lot worse. I try to keep all this in mind when parents are dropping off their kids. I’ve said this a million times– we may never know the battle that some people are fighting and if we can be a ray of sunshine in their gloomy day, we should always take that opportunity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: To know even ONE life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.
I pray that in my own life, and yours if you choose it, I learn to work a genuine love in to practical things. I want to have words that are kind and loving and a heart that is always ready to ask forgiveness as well as forgive. In doing so, there’s really no way I can have anything other than a lovely day.