Ah, the power of positive thinking! Many a guru suggests that we should look in the mirror every morning and tell ourselves positive things, such as that we are lovable, or that we are beautiful. Why? Because the world doesn’t tell us what we need to hear. If it does, it doesn’t say it often enough to believe it.
In the culture in which I was raised, not saying or returning a “Good morning” is considered rude. Accordingly, I have walked into every new job and said, “Good morning!” to each and every person in my team, and in my vicinity, starting on the first day. People are not always used to this. Some even resist.
At first, there’s the look of distrust, perhaps wondering what it is I want from them. Then a few days later, when they see this is going to be the new routine, they drop the look and start with the grunt and nod maneuver.
I, however, am undeterred…
“Good morning!”, I say as I walk into work my second week. Some are perfectly happy to respond, and their reply is genuinely encouraging to me. Others, though, are late adopters of change. Of course, it’s because they didn’t hear me, or think I must be talking to others. What else could it be?
Looking them in the eyes and smiling, I repeat my well wishes for the start of their day.
“Mrng…..”, one may begrudgingly retort.
“How are you today?” I ask cheerfully, refusing to be intimidated by their sideways look.
They respond with a shrug, a sigh, or even a moan. What follows is a listing of reasons their morning or their life has been less than pleasant.
“I”m sorry to hear that. Wow, you have a lot on your plate! I’m amazed at how well you handle it (insert example I have seen here).”
The reaction is normally a look of mild surprise. People in general are not used to being complimented when unloading their burdens. They often feel like no one wants to hear it. But when someone does listen, and can honestly and sincerely show them that they have a positive personality trait – one of resilience and endurance and the strength to carry on despite trials, their morning becomes just a little better.
We tend to think of others as having similar lives to us because they may look like us, live where we live, or work where we work, etc. But that’s not true. Take a look around your school, your work, or your community. In any large group of people, there are those secretly battling suicidal thoughts, abuse, addiction problems (or someone else’s addiction problems for that matter), financial woes, or health problems. The list goes on and on. Maybe we cannot find a cure for their cancer, pay off their debt or fix their marriage, but we can, at the very least, be someone who regularly reminds them that they, too, are deserving of a, “Good morning!”.
When we do this – when we regularly offer a genuine positive thought to others, we see the power we have to influence others for good. And that, in my opinion, is not just telling the mirror that my actions matter or that I matter; it is proving it.
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