Do you ever people watch? It’s one of my favorite activities in a public place. I look around a shopping centre or gymnasium, or park, or any public venue and watch people. I don’t watch them critically; I watch them with interest and wonder. I think about who they are, what they do for a living, whether they have family, are they a cat or dog person, do they like apples or oranges, that sort of thing. I think about what kind of life they have lead, what lessons they may have learned, what sorrows and cheers they have experienced. Were they a bully at school, or were they bullied? Or maybe they were the kid that flew under the radar. I love watching people, their behaviour, their facial expressions, their mannerisms, their mood, how they treat people they interact with, their shopping habits, their training habits, their walking patterns.
There is no particular thing I focus on, I just like to people watch. I don’t watch television I watch life. Why? Because it fascinates me and because it helps me help people.
As people walk past me I think about those that are struggling emotionally, mentally, physically, financially. As I watch I think about how I can make a small difference in this person’s life. How can I contribute so that I can make today a day this person will always remember with a smile. Not because I can gain anything from it, but because they can. If anything the only thing I gain, would be feeling good, knowing I made a difference. Even if they don’t know it was me that did it.
You never know when a beautiful gesture will save someone’s life, help them overcome grief, or give them hope again. Their partner may have walked out on them, their dog may have died, they may have just lost their job, or someone just road raged them because they were driving too slow. Or perhaps it’s just another average day in their life. Whatever the reason you can make a difference in their life. All with just a little human kindness. Here are 5 ways I contribute to making a difference:
- Smile – It doesn’t cost you anything to smile at a stranger. Not because you are trying to make a pass at them but because you are genuinely just smiling at them. Choose a person on your people watch and catch their eye. Then simply smile a big genuine smile that reaches right up into your eyes. Then look away and carry on doing whatever you were doing without looking at them again. You will get curious to see how they react, but don’t look again. It doesn’t matter how they react, that’s not the purpose here. The purpose is your genuine smile. It will mean more to that person if you don’t look at them again after your genuine smile. They will know it was simply a smile with no hidden agenda.
- Pay a compliment – All too often people are critical of others whether it be their appearance, the way they talk, their service, their dress sense. But how many times have you looked at a person and thought ‘wow they have a great smile’, ‘great customer service’, ‘they are doing a great job with…’, ‘I totally love their shoes’ and then actually told them so? When going to a restaurant people are quick to complain about bad service, but do you compliment good service? Do so. If you like someone’s shoes, tell them. If you think someone is beautiful, tell them. (No, not like you are trying to pick them up, like you are merely paying them a compliment; big difference.) If someone has beautiful eyes, tell them. I walk up to people and say something like “Excuse me, I know this is going to sound weird, but I saw you whilst drinking my coffee and just wanted to tell you, you have an incredible heart-warming smile.” And walk away. I don’t even need to wait for their response. If you try this and hang around long enough for a response, regardless of what they say, smile at them and reply “I just wanted to tell you” then walk away.
- Buy them a coffee/groceries/medication etc. – I will sometimes ask the barrister to charge me for 2 coffees when I am only having one, and tell them that the second one is for the next person who orders a coffee. Imagine ordering a coffee and the barrister telling you the person before you has already paid for it!
- Help someone – Are they juggling their shopping? Offer to carry something for them. Do they need a spot at the gym? Go and spot them. Did they spill something? Help clean it up. Imagine if each person helped one person each hour of the day. How beautiful would our world be?
- Volunteer – There are so many charities around, so many fund raisers, so many people in need, how can we afford to help each and every one of them or any of them for that matter. If your financial situation is tight, you may not be able to contribute at all. But we can all find half an hour here or there to volunteer our help. You can offer to keep a collection tin at your desk at work. It costs you no time or money, just effort. You can offer to sell raffle tickets for a fund raiser at your work or social place. You can volunteer your time at an event. You can volunteer your time to read to the elderly. Or help distribute food at a soup kitchen. There are so many ways you can help those in need without having to fork out money. In fact, it has much more meaning when you are contributing your precious time and/or effort than just simply writing out a check or handing over a material donation. Offer to wrap the hampers at a fund raiser, rather than just contributing to a hamper. Offer to help dispose of the rubbish after an event. Get creative with your offer. You will make the world of difference. You don’t need to help everybody, but helping somebody is well worth it.
As you can see it’s not hard to make a difference in someone’s life. If each person was proactive every single day in doing something positive for one person each day, the world would be so much more beautiful. We have enough misery, hunger, pain and sorrow in our world, let’s make that tiny contribution towards spreading love. When you live each day with love in your heart, hands, head and actions, love will surround you wherever you go. Open your heart; you won’t regret it.
If you thought this was valuable, please share so we can spread the message far and wide 🙂
– Terri Batsakis