What Good Can I Do Today? 10 Ways to Shine a Light
February 9, 2020
I’ve found a secret to feeling really awesome in both body, mind and spirit. It’s pretty simple: Focus on someone other than yourself. Doing good for others is like sending a boomerang out into the universe — it will come right back to you and knock you out with goodness!
Many times, doing good has to be intentional. Otherwise, you go to work in the morning — perhaps cutting a person or two off in traffic because you’re late — dig into the spreadsheet you’re editing, and before you know it, you’re driving home and your day has been just like any other — dominated with ordinary tasks and actions. To make life EXTRAORDINARY, you have to choose to do extraordinary actions, and if you’re not in the habit of doing so, it takes intent.
Because I love lists, I have helpfully compiled a list of 10 ways you can insert more goodness into your life on a daily basis.
Create a new habit. If you do the same thing at the same time every day, it becomes a habit, and then you don’t have to write it down on your calendar — or set three reminder alarms, as I often must do. (Menopause, what can I say?) For example, when you head out the door in the morning, you might check to see if your elderly neighbor’s newspaper made it onto his front porch, or if it is hiding in the hedge or other inconvenient place. You can then put it on his doorstep for him. It’s the little things, right?
Pay it forward. Every day, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that other people do you little favors, whether it’s letting you into a spot on the freeway, fixing the jam you created in the copy machine or putting an extra shot of vanilla in your latte at no extra charge. Use those instances to remind you to immediately send that goodwill out into the world to another person. Pay for another customer’s latte, bypass the “good spot” in the supermarket parking lot so someone else can have it, offer to show someone at work how to fix their email problem.
Pay a compliment. Let the parking garage guy know that his jokes make your day. Tell your coworker that his bow-tie gives him pizzazz. Write a note to your child’s teacher telling her that your child FINALLY understands fractions thanks to the cooking activity she did with the class. Who knows how far your kind words will reverberate, and to whom?
Make eye contact and SMILE. When you look at someone, they feel SEEN. When you smile at them, they feel a tiny burst of worth. It’s so very easy to brighten someone’s day — just flash your teeth.
Tip above and beyond. It is really fun to vastly overtip now and then. Try tipping the amount of your bill. Or go to a diner on a Sunday and give the $100 you were going to spend on some new covers for the living room throw pillows to your overworked single-mom waitress. Bam — you’ve just done something that will be remembered for a long time, and provided encouragement that was almost certainly needed.
Bring food. To me, food is love. It is a wonder that I am not vastly overweight, given this outlook. If I love you, I will make you pancakes, cookies and banana bread until you’ve gained 20 pounds. As I have began to realize the interconnectedness of us all and how much each of us are loved by the Father, I’ve fallen in love with all sorts of people! (I should start a restaurant.) Bring some cookies to the teacher’s lounge at your child’s school. Hand a tired coworker a frothy latte. Cook an extra portion of soup and give it to your neighbor so she can enjoy a night without cooking.
Pray for someone. Really pray. Hold them up to the Father in love. If we had any idea of the power of prayer, we’d likely be on our knees much more often.
Send an encouraging text to someone. Send your cousin a message letting her know that she’s got the brains to totally rock it as a girlboss. Or let a depressed friend know she’s never alone, that she’s always loved. A simple text could make a much greater impact than you know.
Carry someone’s burden. This can be literal, as in helping a mom with kids load her groceries into her car, or it can mean anonymously paying the late electric bill your coworker has been so concerned about. Can’t afford it? Donate your time instead — help your overwhelmed neighbor by mowing her grass the next time you mow your own.
Say “I love you” at unexpected times, for unexpected reasons, to people who don’t ordinarily hear it from you.
And the list could go on and on. One of the very best ways to get new ideas is to simply observe the awesome things that people do for one another and imitate what inspires you. Now go shine, you big beam of sunlight, you!