I’ve discovered something this week that plasters a HUGE smile on my face every time I check Facebook – a rarity, since it’s usually plastered with sad news stories/rants/politics!! I am genuinely so excited by it that I just had to share it with you straight away.
This new source of joy in my life is a Facebook group – stay with me – that sets a new challenge every day to do something creative and compassionate. I haven’t been participating in the challenges myself, however watching the creative, gorgeous things people are doing is honestly blowing my mind. It’s so refreshing to go on social media and put down my phone feeling full of optimism. So, I’m writing this post today to restore your faith in human nature and remind you of the incredible beings we can be.
The group is called ’64 Million Artists – January Challenge’ and as I briefly mentioned, every day there’s a new task. So for example, Day 8’s challenge was ‘Compliment a Stranger’. Here’s a beautiful illustration of the ways people are exercising the challenges:
“There’s a lady whom I see almost 3 or 4 times a week, on a walk with her toddler son, who is always asking her questions. The good mother that she is, I see her explaining things, pointing to a tree, a bird or gesticulating with her hands. I have always observed her with a lot of interest but never spoken to her, as I always felt that maybe, this was the only time she could give her son, be with him in totality.
So, today, as I walked past her house, I saw her alone, standing in her front yard. I went back home and picked up a gift for her.
I went back, and told her of how I admired the time she gave to her son and how, although I wanted to say hello, I didn’t want to take away that special time between them.
She was warm, spoke in a soft voice and said that she takes her son on these nature walks to calm his hyperactive nature. These questions on the walks, gives him time to hear her answers, and builds his patience to listen. It was so nice to know that if a mother is wise, her child does not need a specialist…Anyway, I gifted her one of my painted bottles and she was surprised as well as over-the-moon.
So, I found a new friend today.”
I read this story this morning as I was drinking my coffee and it filled me with so much good energy to start my day! How kind and courageous to compliment someone in this way? How good must it have felt to not only receive such a compliment but to give it? See below Pintueli’s beautiful bottles – one of which she gifted to the lady mentioned above…lucky lady!
Other expressions of ‘compliment a stranger’ were simpler yet so important and a reminder of the type of kindness we can spread every single day:
“Today I visited 3 different stores looking for the same things but in one of them there was this shop assistant who really helped me out and made my day. So I told him how nice he had been and he looked happy about it. But then I looked for the store manager and told him too. He changed his expression and grinned authentically and looked very surprised. I guess they’re pretty used to hear the bad so he didn’t expect someone congratulating a shop assistant. Made me feel pretty well too. I think I should do this more often!”– Irene
There’ve been times when I’ve received exceptional service or someone has gone out of their way to help me and I’ve made a mental note to tell a higher authority, only to forget later on. I love Irene’s post because it reminded me how easy it is to express gratitude when someone truly makes a difference to your day. We’re so quick to complain about bad service, why aren’t we the same when it’s good?
I’ve one more thing to show you before – hopefully – you go and explore the group yourself. Lynn posted that she felt awkward complimenting a stranger and so went with a more innovative approach to spread smiles! She left these posters on the back doors of her town’s public toilets “from 11am to 2pm to catch the lunchtime punters in need of a smile!” How gorgeous?!
The world is such a scary place at the moment, small acts of kindness such as these are literally revolutionary to fostering a wide-spread compassion. We’re so often in our own heads that it’s easy to forget that the person you walk past everyday on the street, people you’re smushed against on the tube, your doctor, your boss, your neighbours…all have emotions just like you. They’re just as confused as to why we’re here, they’re just as delicate and they’re just as human.
What an amazing thing, to be able to remind someone that they’re not alone, to gift a smile and to make someone feel wonderful.
Love Siân x
Ps. Compliment a stranger this week, for me ☺️