Do you ever wonder about the impact you have on other people? Are you a central part of the happiness they feel? Or are you merely a neutral bystander observing from afar? Or maybe worse – a contributor to other people’s unhappiness?
Rarely do we live a life without both positive and negative influences on the people around us. And I’m not talking about just family and friends. I’m talking about strangers, too.
A friend of mine experienced a magical moment last year. She was in line at Target and checking out in front of her was a young man. He looked to be in his mid 20’s. But it was his grocery cart that first caught her eye.
He was buying cleaning supplies and his list was a long one. He had a mop, a broom, a bottle of Pine-Sol – and lots more, too. It looked like he was going to be busy that afternoon.
When he went to check out, his credit card was declined. He stepped aside to call his bank and my friend said she knew exactly what he was feeling – anxiety, embarrassment, panic. Most of us have been there, too.
His bill was a meager $37 so she quickly paid his tab and why not? He was a kid buying cleaning supplies and she was not about to let insufficient funds keep him from mopping his kitchen!
As she walked towards the door, he chased her down and with tears in his eyes, asked if he could hug her. After a very brief exchange they both walked away in different directions but she was now smiling and she knew he was, too.
I’ve thought about the two of them often and what a bargain she got for a mere $37 bucks. He got a bargin, too – a renewed faith in the kindness of others and a clean floor to go with it.
There’s science that confirms why our happiness expands when we help someone else and with no expectation for return. Simply put - the more good we do for others, the more good we do for ourselves.
The father of a dear friend just moved to a new home – one for assisted living. Harold is 95 years old. He’s partially blind now. His sweet wife of 71 years, Doris, died only a few years ago.
His daughter was a little apprehensive about his transition to this new home. Not only was he now alone, he was now alone in a very unfamiliar place and with limited eyesight.
But then she got a call from his new caretakers. They said he was so full of joy and light that he had made all of them rethink their own life. If he could be so happy in the midst of so much change, then most certainly they could be happier in their life, too.
You have a young man early on life’s path, buying cleaning supplies and doing his best.
And you have an elderly gentleman late on life’s path, no longer buying much of anything but still doing his best, too.
And both of them doubling joy around them with every step.
Until next week, I hope you share double joy and double gratitude with family, friends and strangers, too.
Linda Sterling Sease is an author, speaker and career coach on the power of joy to transform companies, homes and communities. To explore how Linda can work with your organization, call 303-319-5829 or email her at Linda at SterlingSease.com.