Living Thankfully, 2

by teresalaynebennett

photo of 20-something woman holding door open for elderly woman

Yes, small kindnesses DO count.

Living Thankfully Tip #2:
living thankfully helps you pay attention
to the good that others do for you,
which prompts you to do good for others.

As I work at curtailing the number of pity parties I give myself, I’ve learned something pretty amazing. The simple act of doing even the smallest of good deeds for others makes ME feel good. Who knew? When I feel good about myself, I usually perform at higher levels and, in general, go through my days more contented. (See “You deserve it” for more on the rewards of doing good.)

Have you noticed…?

Have you noticed what you’re prompted to do when you’re thankful for what others do for you? Whether it’s a small kindness (like a free couch) or a career-jumpstart kindness, you start looking around for somone else to bless with your own version of a small or large kindness.

Disclaimer: this is true unless we’ve fried our brains or our psyches. There will always be the miscreants who don’t fit healthy society’s norms. Though it’s unlikely you’d be reading this post if you fit into the miscreant category, this disclaimer might help explain the obvious aberrations around us.

Have you ever noticed that the coworkers you most like are the ones who are most grateful when you help them with a last-minute project, pass on a relevant tidbit from the office grapevine, or simply give them a ride home when their car’s in the shop?

Have you paid attention to the fact that you would do almost anything for the friends and family members who sincerely appreciate what you’ve already done for them – and tell you so?

Pay attention to what happens when you simply hold the door open for the person behind you at 7-Eleven. Don’t they have an entirely different attitude toward you than they did two seconds earlier? Usually, unless they’re a member of the aberrant-behavior bunch, they become positively jovial. How does that make you feel? Pretty good, huh? What a bargain: yummy feel-good-ness for simply opening a door. 

When we pay attention to when others have paid attention to what we need – a door opened when our hands are full or a shoulder to cry on after Dad dies – we become thankful. Living thankfully, in turn, makes us pay attention to what others need and encourages us to follow up with the appropriate aid. Giving that appropriate aid to others makes us feel yummy-good.

I’m telling you, this living thankfully gig is a win-win scenario. But I’m not done. There’s some startlingly good news in Living Thankfully, 3.

© 2014, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

(Adams is creator of the Dilbert comic strip.)