Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nice Really Does Work!!

It's another rainy Tuesday, but it's still a NICE HAPPENS! day, so I wanted to pass this link along to all of you. My sister-in-law nicely sent it my way . . .

Proof, yet again, that you really do catch more flies with honey . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

It's another "Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace" NICE HAPPENS Tuesday. And it's also my younger son's birthday.

It's fitting. He was born at 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night 22 years ago today. I'd like to say he's been full of grace his whole life. I'm not sure that'd be totally accurate.

He's been full of boy. And trips to the emergency room. And sweetness.

He made us a family.

He makes me laugh and smile.

And here's one thing I've learned from him about niceness (among many other things. He really is a sweet kid.)--when you call someone, start with "First, I wanted to say 'hi.' And see how you are." That's the way to start the conversation, even if you're calling to complain or ask for money or explain you might not have done so great on that test you took last week.

Start with showing you care. Start with love. After that, everything else is easy.

Happy Birthday, Eric! Come home and visit soon. Your mom misses you.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This'll be Quick

My apologies for not posting as often the past little while . . . I've been being nice, I promise, I've just also been busy. And I'm headed out of town tonight for the next week (yes, spreading niceness in another time zone, I hope), so just keep doing what you've been doing, smile at strangers, and assume the best in people.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Results? Yes!

This is pretty cool . . . One of my cyber-buddies took the idea of NICE HAPPENS! to her high school in rural Minnesota. Here's what she wrote me this week:

Judy, I was gone last Tuesday and I'm gone for most of today, but I have to report that two weeks ago, when I brought your Nice Happens Tuesdays to each of my classes and to the faculty, a couple of great things happened:

1) My Principal brought it up at the faculty meeting so more of us could highlight it...

2) That day at lunch, without knowing what had happened, the lunch line workers went to Admin and said that the kids...many levels...were extremely pleasant and the vast majority said "thank you" to each of the workers on the line. The cooks couldn't figure it out, and Admin explained...yay! Direct and immediate action! I LOVE it!

So, don't ever think that your gestures don't matter. Nice happens. And it spreads ripples far beyond what anyone can know.

It's the Little Things

Big gestures in niceness can be great. But, I'm finding that day-to-day, there aren't necessarily opportunities for that to happen. And, this morning, as I sip coffee, I realize that smaller gestures can add up and matter perhaps even more.

For instance, my husband gets up every morning and turns on the coffee for me (he doesn't drink it). Sure, I could set the timer the night before, but I can't always predict when I'll want it to be ready. It's a sweet, small way for him to say "I love you." Every morning I appreciate it.

So, today, the third Tuesday of NICE HAPPENS!, I urge you to find little ways you can be nice, and also look for all the little ways others are nice to you. Whether it's letting someone pull out in front of you in traffic, or getting something off a high shelf at the grocery store, or noticing when someone does the same for you . . . and saying "Thanks."

Try it.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Results? Perhaps.

Last week was pretty interesting . . . responses to my "coming clean" post were fascinating and incredibly satisfying. I discovered that letting go of one grudge fed on itself, and I started thinking about other hard feelings or strained relationships (I'm not as dysfunctional as that might make me sound) and it became easier to think about letting go, moving forward, softening up.

That all felt good.

I also added to my "nice" list the idea of simply being considerate. Now, I like to think I'm good at that--but we all get busy or distracted or overwhelmed and think, oh well, I'll deal with that later, I'll answer that e-mail tomorrow, I'll return that phone call when I have more time. But, as busy as we all are, it's easy to let things slide much too far. So, I'm trying to be more intentional, and at least send off the note to say, "I'm thinking of you" or "I haven't forgotten about this." Things like that only take a minute and can make a real difference.

The biggest change I've noticed is how good it is to be reminding myself--on a daily basis--to lead with nice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Letting Go

I can be pretty stubborn. Tenacious, even. Which is a wonderful thing for an author. It's less so when it comes to grudges.

Several years ago (okay, 7. Seven. Yes, I said it. SEVEN. I'm not proud of that.) I got into it, shall we say, with a colleague. He was a higher-up, but we were serving on a committee together and we locked horns. Harsh words were spoken. We retreated, and publicly, at least, we established a sort of detente. We played nice when we had to, when we saw each other, but I was still irritated. I knew, you see, that I was right. And I wasn't shy about airing my feelings--hurt, self-righteous, etc.--with those who knew both of us.

Yeah, it was like that. It made me feel icky, but I couldn't let go.

It became a habit. I didn't even have to give it any thought. I was so sure I was right, of course, so that made it okay, at least in my mind.

Then, yesterday, I came home and had a phone message from him. He had come across some tickets to a sporting event that he wasn't going to be able to use. And, he knew I'd love them. So, he was offering them to me. Just as a kindness. There were lots of other people who'd like them. He had to know that. People who hadn't been snotty to him, hadn't held on to hurt feelings and anger and being "right." But, he reached out to me. With grace.

I was taken aback, to say the least. And humbled. And, of course I accepted them. To be very honest, I was embarrassed at my behavior toward him--not for the first time, I admit, but I can say now, certainly for the last time.

His gesture allowed me to let go of the grudge, the hurt feelings.

To paraphrase (poorly) C. S. Lewis, letting go of a grudge doesn't change the other person, it changes me.

Later, when I was telling my husband about the offer, he reminded me that we had tickets to a different sporting event that we couldn't use. I knew this man would love them. So, when I went to pick up the tickets from him, I was able to give him the other ones. It never would have occurred to me to offer them to him before.

And in the "ticket exchange" and in our mutual gratitude, I think he sensed the change in me; I hope so.

Forgiveness feels really good, letting go of grudges feels even better. Kind of like when the grinch's "heart grew three sizes that day."

So, that's my report about Day 2 of my 21-Day Challenge--it feels really good.

As I discovered, letting go of hard feelings is a big part of being nice. And you're rarely as right as you think you are.