(Day 23 of 30)
I try hard to be a thoughtful person. It seems easy for some people to do what’s thoughtful and just be that way all day, everyday. It’s not for me. I try, but I wish it were more automatic. So with that in mind, here are seven reminders for how I can work to be a more thoughtful person:
- Schedule thoughtful plans into my calendar. This seems counter-intuitive, but it’s really not. Scheduled thoughtfulness is not automatically thoughtful. But if I make consistent plans to be thoughtful, then being thoughtful could become automatic. Fingers crossed!
- Smile often! How easy is that? A simple smile can brighten the day for every person you pass. And even if they’re not in need of one, a genuine smile is always welcome. Plus, smiling releases endorphins (those HAPPY hormones). WIN – WIN!
- Be patient, especially when I’d really rather not. It’s hard to remember that everyone moves at their own pace. Just because I’m feeling rushed doesn’t mean people around me are; most likely they’re not. I’ll try this: the next time I’m stuck in traffic and someone is moving like a slug I’ll remember that the couple of extra seconds I might gain won’t make a real difference.
- Practice generosity. I live in the Las Vegas Valley and we have a lot of panhandlers here. Some are truly in need, some are not, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. I want to be generous, but don’t want to get duped. Here’s a plan – I’ll buy an extra bottle of water when I’m buying myself one in the convenience store. That way, when I stop at a corner and there’s a panhandler looking for money, I can donate a cold drink instead. Even if they don’t really need money, they certainly need to keep hydrated.
- Be on time. There’s nothing more wasteful than wasting someone else’s time. I have friends and family who are chronically late. I know this about them, and I fully understand that it’s hard to get out of the house on time every time, but for god-sake, try. Just try. And if you’re the one who schedules an event and you’re not there at the time you scheduled it? That’s inconceivably rude. Don’t do that.
- Be efficient. Wait, what? Yes, efficient. Here’s a good example: When I’m waiting in line at the bank, I can use that time to fill out my deposit slip. When it’s my turn at the teller’s desk, I’m ready to do business. That way I don’t end up fumbling around in my purse and slowing up an already frustrating and long line.
- Recognize my own imperfections. Yes!! As perfect as I’d like to be, I am far from it. I know this about myself and I own it. The fringe benefit of owning my imperfections is that it gives me room to accept the imperfections of others. All I, and you, and everyone else can do is try our best. None of our bests will be perfect, but at least we’re trying.
Which is a perfect place to end this list, because, well, I know darn well as hard as I try, some days I will be a thoughtless cur. And the best thing I can do at the end of those days is know that I have another chance to be the kind and thoughtful person I want to be tomorrow.