As the popular 1954 Kitty Kallen song goes, “Give me your arm as we cross the street, a line a day when you’re far away, little things mean a lot.” We all get so busy with our every day grind and routine. Often we want to do something special for someone, but the thought of planning something big can be so overwhelming when we have so much on our own plates. Or maybe we want to make a difference in the world somehow, but just haven’t figured out which at which organization to volunteer. What we fail to realize is how the smallest of things can mean… well, a lot.
See how easy these 10 little things can be, and you’ll see just how much they can mean.
10 Little Things that Mean a Lot
- Negative emotions, feelings and thoughts are often what we remember the most. For some odd reason it’s easier to focus on the negative than the positive. With that in mind, make a day of pointing out all the positives to others. Compliment your friend’s new haircut, the waiter/waitress’s beautiful blue eyes, or tell the restaurant manager how great your experience/food was. Point out the beautiful flowers to a friend, ask with a please and receive with a thank you, and remind someone how lucky they are to just be alive. Everyone loves to be complimented, so go compliment-crazy and see how many smiles you can collect in a day. Turn any negatives that come your way into positives.
- When preparing a meal for your family, there are almost always leftovers. Why not make a plate of those leftovers and put it in the fridge or freezer to take to your grandma or local shelter instead of throwing it out? Home cooked food is such a horrible thing to waste.
- Everyone loves getting something other than bills in the mail. When’s the last time you actually mailed a card to a loved one? Okay, birthday cards don’t count. Take five minutes at the grocery store to pick out a “thinking of you” card and drop it in the mail to your loved one. Or better yet, handwrite a note about how much they mean to you. It doesn’t matter if they respond or not, the point is the ‘out of the blue’ telling someone you are thinking about them. I guarantee it will put more than a smile on your loved one’s face.
- Prove that chivalry isn’t dead and is not exclusive to men. Escort your loved one to the car and open the door for them; give up your seat on the bus or train for someone else; let someone go in front of you in the grocery store line; when dropping someone off, make sure they get in safely before driving off; don’t let a door slam in anyone’s face – hold it open for those behind you.
- When is the last time you checked in with the relative who lives across the country? Take a few moments to make a phone call. I bet you won’t regret hearing their voice and finding out what they’ve been up to lately. If you’re really ambitious, you’ll throw it on the calendar and make it a monthly chat.
- Sometimes it’s hard to avoid the sinking guilt in the pit of the stomach as we pass the homeless person asking for money outside the entrance of the local grocery or drugstore. Instead of searching for the nickels and dimes in your pocket, purchase a few goodies in the store to leave with them as you exit. The unexpectedness of your good intentions will leave them feeling very thankful.
- We live in such a demanding service-now society. We expect a lot from those that serve us and sometimes we don’t stop to think of what they go through to attend to our needs. A good way to show your appreciation beyond saying “thank you” is to tip. Tip when it is not expected. And when it is expected, tip as generously as you can afford. It’ll send the message that you appreciate their efforts.
- Know of someone that has been so incredibly busy lately they haven’t stopped to smell the flowers in a long time? Show up at their door at 5:30 a.m. so you can kidnap them to watch the sunrise. They may think you are a little crazy, but once the sun has risen they’ll be singing your praises. If morning isn’t your thing, you could always try a sunset kidnap.
- Have you caught glimpses of your loved one or friend doing the all too familiar rubbing and stretching their neck-implying their shoulders are a bit bound up? Drop everything to give a simple five minute shoulder massage. What a difference it will make for the one feeling cramped.
- When in doubt – teach. We all have different skill sets and levels of knowledge about various subjects. We all grow and learn at our own pace. Sharing a skill or talent with someone by teaching them how to do something can help others become more diverse and rounded. Knowledge truly is empowering, just remember to be patience and respectful.
Random acts of kindness often spark appreciation in others that creates a domino effect when they in turn pass it on and those after them pass it on. Ultimately, these little things mean a lot, and they make the world a better place. Sometimes it’s better to focus on the little things, and who knows-maybe they’ll lead to bigger things.
Research & Community Education