Monday, February 13, 2012
Help at the Grocery Store
Today provided another opportunity to help people in small, but kind, ways at the grocery store. My sister and I were on our way home after an afternoon out and needed to stop to pick up a few items for dinner. When we were done shopping, we loaded the groceries into her car and I returned the cart to the front of the store. As I was going back to our car, I saw an elderly man just finishing putting his purchases into his car. I offered to return his cart for him to save him the effort. Smiling, he said "Thanks", and then added, "That's very kind."
When I was done and was about to get into our car, I noticed another elderly man struggling to move some things around in the trunk of his car so that he could get his bags in. He seemed pretty frail and so I went over to offer my help and to return his shopping cart as well. He gave me a big smile and said, "Oh, bless your heart. You're a good man." Then he offered a fist pump and said "Give me five!"
Interestingly, when I was returning to our car one last time I passed a man sitting in his car with his window down. As I went by he said, "That was a real nice thing for you to do."
One of the things I've noticed about doing some of these small things is that the less I'm in a hurry, the easier it is to notice opportunities to help people and the easier it is to act upon them. When I'm rushing to get things accomplished, I get annoyed at people getting in my way and I don't want to take the extra time to help people (in fact, I usually don't even notice the opportunities). The fascinating thing to notice is that, more often than not, the sense of rushing around is often self-imposed, and even habitual. We can get so used to rushing around that we maintain that mindset, even when we really don't need to. As I work to let go of that mindset, everything becomes more relaxed, less stressful, and more pleasant. I begin to notice more chances to help people, and as I do so, my world simply becomes a happier place.
One other interesting note: A friend of mine e-mailed me today and mentioned that she had seen a screening of a movie promoting happiness. Apparently, the movie noted that the top two things you can do to create more happiness in your life is to cultivate gratitude and to perform acts of kindness! This certainly matches my experience so far this year.