This is not a public journal. There is no theme, agenda, or overall purpose. I need a reason to write and it needs to be well informed. I consider myself an expert in only one subject, my own thoughts. I am reflecting my experiences onto the internet because this seems to make them more beautiful to me, especially when they are idealized and inaccurate. This is not a mirror for me to see myself looking back, nor is it a mirror that reflects a detailed image of myself to others. This page is but a jumble of letters, words, and ideas that will be interpreted differently for each person, including myself. There are no mirrors because these thoughts are directionless, inaccurate, and fuzzy; a vague, splotchy reflection of McKinley.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Make Someone's Day

I'm not an expert on this subject. Making somebody's day is a very basic form of creative, artistic expression. It takes practice, thought, effort, and time. I am only a beginner at this point.

All too often I've settled for smiling at a stranger as my way of making a difference. I don't mean to undercut the value of being nice and doing small things for people, but we shouldn't excuse ourselves from bigger things simply because we are already nice. There is so much more we can all do to brighten the lives of others. I realized that I was doing almost nothing in terms of EXTRA effort (yes, I am saying that smiling at strangers, holding doors, or other day to day nice things are essentially effortless).

When I realized this, I took initiative. I set some goals and decided on some things that I was going to do that would take extra effort. I set weekly and daily goals that would require me to do more than just be friendly. They required time, thought, creativity, and diligence. Let your mind wander. Just because you can't draw or paint or write or sing does NOT mean you aren't a creative person. When it comes to those you care about I believe that your capacity to do something creative and meaningful is limitless.

I hope you let your mind wander. I hope you consider what you can do in terms of extra effort to uplift people you know and care about. I will share a few of my experiences with this. I don't do this to feel good about myself or toot my own horn; I do this because you can copy my ideas, alter them to fit your needs, or at the very least, you can see that it's not that difficult to make someone's day.



Lists of 10

This summer I decided that I would choose somebody each week that needed to hear 10 things. I would write 10 things down that I felt they needed to hear and get it to them somehow. Sometimes I remained anonymous and sometimes I didn't, it depended on what it was they needed to hear. I started with my family and left a disclaimer at the end. I told anyone who received it that they would have to think of 10 things to tell someone else and "pay it forward."

This has made a difference in my relationships for many reasons. Every week I think about the needs of those I care about. I think about who might need the list the most. In doing so, I have been more mindful than any other time in my life of those around me. Even if I don't write them a list I am constantly on the lookout.

I chose to always do 10 things because that really forced me to be creative. I wouldn't settle for a quick note, but I had to think of 10 different things that fit the theme of what I was writing. If you choose to set a goal, set one that stretches you a little bit like this does. I noticed that my actual appreciation of those I write about has grown as I think through 10 positive things. It's a good opportunity to sit and ponder on how much a person means and what they actually need. For me, there was something special about 10 things, for you it might be different, just be sure you aren't making it easier or effortless.



Expressing Appreciation

Sometimes it takes guts to tell someone you appreciate them. If you write them a note or send them a message that is honest it can be scary. I received a very valuable message from an acquaintance a few weeks ago that I felt took a lot of courage. I will post it here as a good example. Although I'm sure this didn't take hours, it did take extra effort, it's valuable because this person went out of their way to make my day.


Hey McKinley! Sorry this is kind of random, but I just wanted to say thank you. I don't remember how I stumbled on your blog, but thank you so much for writing it. I read it occasionally and your optimism and hope and testmony have helped me on days when I have really needed help. Truly, thank you so much for your example. Thank you also for always having been so nice to me. You give me hope of good guys.
I hope this is not weird, but I just really felt like I needed to let you know that I am grateful for you even not knowing you very well. I hope life is going well for you! I wish you the best! And have a good week!


This came at a time when I was low on confidence. Those appreciative thoughts could have stayed with my friend and I would have never known that my writing was appreciated. This person could have thought, "I don't really know him very well so it would be weird." Instead, they took some initiative and made my day. It was the confidence boost I was in need of. I've found that we are more intuitive than we think, if someone is on your mind they probably need to hear from you. Don't pass that opportunity up.

Please, don't think that if you are reading this blog you should feel pressured to tell me how much you love it and appreciate me haha. This is not a cry for appreciation from ME. This is a cry for more appreciation from those that surround you, care about you, uplift you, inspire you, and spend time with you. Go out of your way to show them that you appreciate them, you'd be surprised at how many people need that little bit of reassurance.


The Ugly Side of Appreciation

Unfortunately, in the modern world, caring can be creepy. I don't think it's ever wrong to appreciate someone, but it can give the wrong message. I have told some people I don't know very well some things I appreciate about them and a few times this hasn't gone very well. I'm sure that I've "freaked them out," which I think is very silly. Although silly, creeping out is a serious threat. Here is my advice if that's what you're worried about.

Do what you want.

If anyone is creeped out then it's their loss for completely misunderstanding another human and assuming the worst of something good. You were honest, so you don't have anything to worry about. It's the other person that should feel uncomfortable for making good things negative.

At the same time, never be obsessive with your appreciation. Don't spend it all in one place. It's good to care deeply about people, but spread your influence and spread your appreciation. That will usually keep you from the creepy side of caring.


A Final Thought

Think of what your strengths are. Think of what fits your personality. Set a goal and just decide to do it.   Stretch yourself and you'll see immediate results.

Although this wasn't a detailed instruction on "how to make someone's day;" I hope that you finish reading this knowing how YOU will go out of YOUR way to make someone's day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment