Igniting Happiness All Around You
What’s your neighbor’s name? No, not that one, the one on the other side. What about the one across the street, just a couple doors down? How well do you know them? How well do you desire to know them? Believe it or not, these somewhat obscure creatures -otherwise known as neighbors- can add alot to your life.
When Keith and I first purchased our home, the neighbors came over and greeted us within a day. The kids living in the home to our right baked us warm chocolate chip cookies and created a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” sign. The neighbor to the left of our home actually went in our backyard to fix a pipe he noticed had burst due to an unusually cold winter we were experiencing in Southern California. We’re city people and would have been clueless about what to do with a busted pipe in our barn spewing water. Their kindness put a smile on my face that, to this day, has never disappeared.
When you’re walking around the block, taking the trash out, playing with the kids in the yard, a smile not only brightens up your neighbor’s day (even if they don’t reciprocate immediately), it will enhance your own. Happiness, like laughter (and negativity or grumpiness), is contagious. When you smile and genuinely greet your local grocery store clerk, it’s unlikely they’re going to serve you poorly. It happens every now and again but it’s not the norm. Same is the case at your local bank, restaurants, church or community center.
Your life is like a large mirror. People will generally give back to you what they perceive you are giving to them. Perception is not reality, except in the eyes and thoughts of the beholder. But to them, it’s real. I’m not suggesting you employ a “fake it til’ you make it” behavior modification but rather that you dig deep inside and find that person who loves people, the childlike version of you who wants to be kind to everyone. You’ll be surprised at how those in your community -church, neighbors, city, etc- will respond to you once you begin giving the type of love and respect you’d like to gain in return. You’ll quickly become known around town and for all the right reasons.
Boosting the happiness of those around you is beneficial, not only for you, but your entire family. Giving people in your immediate sphere of influence a reason to smile or laugh will brighten up your day, your children’s day and your husband’s day. But the way to do this may be one of the toughest things to achive. It’ll require that you…slow down.
In our current lives -bombarded by emails, cell phone calls, text messages, social media, nonstop commercials, smart phones that double as 6,000-mile leashes- it’s difficult to slow down. We’re moving at a pace that would likely scare our ancestors to death (if they weren’t…ahem…already dead).
Slowing down is easier said than done. I know this first hand and it’s still one of my greatest challenges. But I also know, when I slow down, I’m friendlier, more patient, a greater administer of grace and am simply a kinder, gentler person. And this is prerequisite for being a reflector of light to all those around us.
Just as a city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither can the happiness inside of you when you slow down and take the time to simply smile and say, “hello.” You’ll make those around you happier, and in doing so, you will see your happiness meter rise at least a few notches.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!