In the words of Luke Bryan, "I believe this world is half as bad as it looks, I believe most people are true." This song came on my radio right after I had a heavy conversation about the government shut down, abortion laws, and crime rates in America. It is easy to fall into the trap that our country is falling apart. It's easy to get caught up in all the bad we have in our country, to be suppressed by shows like "YOU", and the Ted Bundy documentary. It's easy to pick out all the harm, and selfishness in our society, but what is even easier than getting caught up in the negative, is spreading some positivity. Create a chain reaction, brighten someone's day, brighten your day and maybe things won't look so dark.
Pay for the car behind you in the Starbucks line
I once sat in a Chick-fil-a line, hungry, tired, and in the worst mood. I had just spent six hours at work being yelled at by customers, my feet hurt, my head hurt from the music being so loud, only to go home to do hours and hours of homework. I was treating myself to some waffle fries when I got up to the window and the employee informed me that the car in front of me had paid for my meal. I was shocked. I was dumbfounded.
Of course, I had heard of this selfless act of kindness, but I never thought it would happen to me. I remember the car very well, it was a family in a truck, they had two kids in the back and several times the mom had turned around to yell at her kids in the line. Even though it was obvious they had their own priorities like the kids arguing, they still took the time to think of me, and do something that influenced me even to this day.
The truth is, you never know what the story of the car behind you in line is, they could be a poor college student spending their last five dollars to get through a paper that is due at midnight. They could be a single mom, who is tired of being up all night with a newborn. They could be trying to get through a day at a job they hate and are underpaid at. Buying someone's coffee seems so minor, so insignificant, but by spending an extra five dollars to make someone's day, that is priceless.
Volunteer at a homeless shelter
How many times a day do you see someone standing on the side of the road asking for money? How many times do you look away, or complain about it? How many times do you do something to make a difference? Probably not as often. By giving up an hour or two a week to help a homeless shelter or the food bank it really can give you a perspective on the folks who are less fortunate. Maybe they aren't the bad guy, maybe it was a series of unfortunate trials that got them where they are. Maybe they never did drugs, were never arrested, but are an ex-veteran or school teacher that dedicated their lives to improve yours and got nothing in return. By volunteering, you can help make a difference in someone's life.
Leave your server a larger tip
You don't have to go crazy, but as a server, it can be such a draining job. You are always on your feet, and before you say, that they chose that job, someone must deliver your dinner on your date night. It can be a very rewarding job, but it also can be very defeating. I still have the note from a table that I had on an especially hard day at work. I was tired from being at school, we were busy, and it seemed like everyone, my manager, the kitchen, and every table, was in a bad mood. Table 5 was mad because their meal was taking longer, table 12 was mad because the bar was backed up, and I hadn't even gotten to table 21.
When I was taking the tables order, I sighed at the sight of one of the tables yelling at me to come over. The lady stopped what she was saying and looked at the guy, she asked how my day had been and I said it had been crazy between work and school. She said not to hurry getting her order in, or to rush to bring her another drink, she could wait. It was a simple gesture that took so much weight off my shoulders, when I looked at her check at the end of the night, there was a hundred dollar bill in the book and a note that thanked me for being such as wonderful server and good luck in school. The next time she came in, I thanked her for being so kind because her small acts of kindness really influenced me. I promise that tipping $5-$10 extra and a note of appreciation will go far.
Ask people why they are grateful on social media
It can be very easy, especially on social media, to be consumed with the negative. You can complain about being stressed out about school or work and not be grateful that you have an education or a job. You can forget that some people are less fortunate and can't afford an iPhone, or to go to school. The negative vibe on social media can be so defeating and asking people why they are grateful is a good way to reverse that. Reminding someone why they are grateful for their life, is the easiest way to spread some positivity.
It only takes a small act to turn someone's day around