When most people think about giving back to their communities, they think about donating to charities or dropping pockets of spare change in the bucket outside of their local Publix during the holiday season. It just makes them feel like they are doing something. It gives them a little happiness in the heart because they are contributing to society and the less fortunate. Do not get me wrong, this is fabulous. I would never discourage anyone to stop with these types of “givebacks” So keep them these coming! We actually need more of them.
The Everyday “Givebacks”
I think we miss everyday givebacks. We walk through life and our days without looking at people around us. I am referring to the total stranger, the guy in front of you at the WaWa buying cigarettes. When we do look at them, are you even seeing them or maybe judging them? Judging their clothes, their lifestyle? Are we deciding that they are a terrible Mom because their child is a hellraiser in the Target aisle, giving her a look of condemnation and whispering something rude? Let’s not forget the lady with the Louis Vuitton bag that just cut you off in line. You assume that she thinks that she is clearly entitled. Now you want to literally want to punch her in the face. How about that grouchy old man standing in the street screaming and pointing his crooked old man finger at you for taking his parking spot, even when you didn’t. He is just a crazy loon so you laugh him off, giving him the finger and head into the restaurant anyway.
Not What It Seems
Does it ever cross your mind that these people have more going on behind the scenes in their lives? Maybe the Mom is having a really bad day? Maybe she just got laid off of her job and her child did not get a nap. Her only goal at the moment is to get a few rolls of toilet paper and a frozen pizza. Her day is really really bad and the looks of condemnation and whispers have sent her to her minivan for a good long hard cry. The uptight lady with the Louis who cut you off has no excuses, right? Maybe she cut you off because she is taking care of her Dad with dementia and she is very scared to leave him alone too long. She knows that she was rude, but she is dying on the inside and is very afraid and very alone and the stress in her life is like nothing you are able to comprehend. Little did you know, the crazy old guy outside in the street that is yelling at you is the entitled Louis Vuitton carrying ladies Dad.
Is Stalking Ok?
For me, there are days when I look for someone to share kindness with in an effort to #GiveBack, I look for someone who looks like they are having a bad day or are lonely. The days that I do this are typically days when I am feeling not so amazing. I sometimes will stalk people in the grocery store to pay for their groceries. I often see elderly people in the grocery store parking lot who clearly do not seem like they have a lot of money. I think of my own Dad living alone, going to Publix and buying food on a fixed income. It makes them happy to be “seen”, but it makes me even happier. Show kindness and give back to your everyday human. I promise it will put joy in your heart.