My very first post of my monthly Kindness Chronicles was supposed to be today … and I almost forgot about it! Well, I had made a few notes this past week to think about, so I’ll go ahead with the post, albeit a little bit late.
One of my favorite public activities has always been to see if I could make someone smile if they were looking grumpy. It doesn’t always work, but it’s surprising how many times it does.
I first started doing this about 20 or 30 years ago, in my car. I’d make it a point to catch the eye of an oncoming driver (passing in the opposite direction … I didn’t want any follow-ups or someone thinking I was flirting). I’d smile or even wave. Sometimes they would wave back, and sometimes look a little confused … “Do I know her?” Nevertheless, it’s pretty rare that the person wouldn’t respond at all. It became kind of a game for me.
Later I started doing it with people on the street. That takes a bit more courage, and I’m always mindful of my personal safety, but I’ve never had a negative or adverse reaction from anyone. (Once a construction worker thought I was flirting and yelled something to impress his friends … but it was broad daylight, I was in a crowd, and I just pretended not to hear, smiled, and walked on.) Every other experience has always been positive.
I do think that people are so rushed and preoccupied that they are startled when a stranger smiles at them. I know that when it happens to me, it kind of makes my day, and so I enjoy passing it along.
I love what fiber-artist Lyric Kinard has started with her Kindness Chronicles, and I wanted to join in, and try to make the world … or at least my little corner of it … a bit nicer place. So I hope to keep up the monthly post (first Sunday of the month) for my own sake, and hope that you will join us too. It’s already making me more “mindful” to be kind to others.