Here's a wonderful story to inspire you to find out what you can do today to make a difference. Trust me, it will pay you back in more ways than ever before. Enjoy ~ Kat
This said, I would like to share my story, not because I want to be thought well of by others but rather because I have discovered a recipe for happiness that I'm sure someone can benefit from.
So here it is.
It is hard for me to keep a smile on my face during certain times of the year and this is one of them. With the impending arrival of Valentine's Day I found myself thinking that if I didn't make a concerted effort to put myself in a good humor I would very quickly find myself sliding into depression.
You see, I haven't received chocolates, cards, flowers or tokens of love since 1999 when my husband was killed in a car accident. He always brought me flowers for Valentine's Day (and birthdays, and special occasions, and some days for no reason at all) and it's hard for me to see all of the advertising and reminders of the love that now only exists in my memories.
Anyway, yesterday was my day to run my weekly shopping errands, and I had noted that the grocery store had even gotten into the Valentine's Day Retail hype and was offering a dozen roses on sale for $12.00. So I bought a bouquet, knowing that my husband would want me to have them. I hoped that they would lift my spirits, although I truly just felt depressed at the idea of buying flowers for myself.
In Canadian retail establishments, stores do their part to encourage people to use recyclable totes rather than non-biodegradable plastic bags and most stores charge 5¢ per plastic bag.
While I was bagging up my groceries I noticed that the man bagging his groceries opposite me had purchased a large quantity of plastic bags rather than bringing recyclable totes.
I always bring extra totes so I figured that I would brighten up his day by performing a random act of kindness and helping the ecology at the same time by passing one along, and said: "hey dude, save a tree… you can have one of my bags". He just growled "that's not necessary" at me. I persisted by saying: "really, there's no strings attached, I don't want anything from you, I have extra and I'd be happy to give you one". I received another monosyllabic and emphatically grunted "NO" in response.
Rather than let this unpleasant individual put a damper on the good mood that I had worked so hard to cultivate, as I left, I smilingly wished him "a better day" (and got growled at again for my efforts) and went on to run the rest of my errands.
As I was driving to my next errand it occurred to me that other people might also be having a tough time, so as I went from store to store and met up with all of the sales people who regularly serve me, I pulled out a rose and wished them a Happy Advance Valentine's Day.
The lady at the cosmetic counter practically jumped across the counter to hug me.
The really overworked pharmacist who hardly ever smiles was so staggered by this simple gift that she had tears in her eyes and her smile practically lit up the entire back of the store.
All too soon my roses were gone, but then it occurred to me that somewhere along the line I had ceased having to force my good mood. By simply bringing a little sunshine into people's lives I brought joy into my own.
As children we have all been taught that it's better to give than to receive, but exposure to the unkindnesses of the world wears on us as we grow up. Consequently by the time we reach adulthood we have lost so much faith in our fellow man and even in ourselves that the childhood lessons are forgotten. It didn't surprise me that the unpleasant man at the grocery store refused my offer as modern society has taught us to be distrustful, and offers of assistance and even smiles are treated as suspect.
However, it shouldn't stop us from trying. We won't always succeed, but the successes DO outweigh the failures, and through the gift of a smile, a kind word or a flower, with any luck we will cause a chain reaction of happiness, tolerance and renewed faith