A week after my mom passed away, my dad showed me recent photos taken at the Confederation Centre for Seniors where my mom was both a volunteer and active participant. There was a competition for the best Easter outfit and my mom, putting others in front of herself as usual, helped a frail elderly lady show off her outfit and encouraged other patrons to vote for her.
Of course, my mom helped the older lady win the contest, but looking at the photos with my dad, I agreed that it was my mom who looked especially beautiful in her outfit that day.
After I moved out of my family home, phone calls with my mom would inevitably move towards what was going on with all the people she knew. I would often interupt to ask who these people were. I remember calling up my sister and asking, “Who are all these people, and why does my mom care so much about them?” My mom’s circle of concern had grown so wide that I knew only a fraction of her friends.
My mom worried about the state of the world. She was saddened by random acts of violence and stories of tragedy and loss, but she actively did her part to make up for the unfairness of life.
My mom found happiness in bringing happiness to others.
She has always been my inspiration for practicing spontaneous and not-so-random acts of kindness. She was always looking at the needs of others in her huge circle of friends and in her community, and she would find big and small ways to help.
When we are focussed on our personal goals and needs, life can be frustrating and empty. When things don’t go our way, we can feel powerless and insignificant. We forget the tremendous power we do have.
Each of us has the potential to make a positive difference in another person’s day. It can be something as small as a complement or kind word to someone who needs it. It can be a card or small gift on a special occasion such as a birthday, a homecoming or a move away, telling others that they are valued just as they are and that they make a difference in the lives of those around them.
We each have special skills or talents, knowledge or connections that we can use to help so many people that we see every day. Too often we hold back. We might not be looking for these golden opportunities. Sometimes, we see them but we let them pass by.
We’re like superheroes undercover so long that we’ve forgotten our capacity to do good, so many ways, so many times each day.
Ordinary as we are, we can do extraordinary things.
Your happiness exercise for today:
Be a hero today by making someone else’s day. Look for opportunities to help someone in need, and give special thanks to someone you see each day who makes a difference in your life.
Don’t hold back. It’s surprisingly easy, and those smiles are priceless.
Since February 1st, I’ve been sharing the insights I’ve learned from my patients, friends and family in “A Hundred Days to Happiness.” Each day, I will post one new insight on facebook.com/davidicus.wong, twitter.com/DrDavidicusWong and my blog at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.