When I was young, my Mum would tell me to leave things better than I found them. So, I would make it my mission to clean extra well. I’d fan out magazines carefully, I’d pick a bunch of uneven flowers and pop them in a vase, I’d leave a note full of smiles. This concept of adding extra sweetness has served me well in life since.
People have added a lot of sweetness to my life, too. The ones that told me of my best bits and not just the bad bits showed me my potential. They believed in my ability and this sparked a confidence in me I didn’t have before. They saw something in me that I couldn’t and for some, they took a chance on me with big payoffs. It meant I performed at an even higher level than I thought possible, this strengths-based approach working on many levels. The belief in me, the simple kind comment, changed the path I took in life.
It wasn’t until I saw this sweet little message from a dog I follow on Twitter (I follow several including @dog_feelings) that I wondered if maybe this concept of leaving things better than we find them is something we can apply to all facets of our lives.
So, in the spirit of Theo, here’s three things we could try today to uplift ourselves and anyone that we spend time with.
1. Find your good bits
Remind yourself of a time when you did something amazing. Write down the compliment that someone gave you, even if it’s in your phone. Ask a friend to tell you their favourite things. Store all of this goodness in a place you will look at often. See what your friends see in you, even for a day.
2. Celebrate everyone else’s good bits
When you think something wonderful about someone, tell them it! Too often we assume someone knows how great they are but chances are, they beat themselves up about it. Tell them and tell everyone else how great they are! If they are struggling to see their great bits, show them and tell them.
3. Leave every conversation on a positive note
When conversations get angry or negative, try to respond with genuine sweetness. Holding onto anger and grudges only makes you unhappy. .
Even on the mundane conversations, throw in a compliment at the end and watch the person light up.
And a final word from the oracle herself, Mum:
Be a giver, a notice-er, be generous (on lots of levels….including giving the benefit of any doubt), never turn up empty-handed, add to others’ lives & experiences. Deeply listening and attending. Thoughtfulness doesn’t need to cost.
Leave things, and people, better than you found them.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to change the path for someone with a simple comment? Or give someone the boost that they needed to create wonderful things? I know that belief in me changed my life. Celebrating people takes nothing away from our own success and it feels pretty great too.
Let me know how you get on ❤
[the featured photo is my friend Kasandra. She told her friend how great I was and it made me feel all sorts of happy. She’s incredibly talented at athletics so I loved learning from her and that smile of hers can brighten even the darkest days :)]