I would say that in general, people hold things in more than they let them out. We mostly think of this in terms of negative emotions, the person who bottles everything up, only to explode once they’ve reached their breaking point, but lately I’ve been thinking of it in terms of the positive things that we hold in as well. How sometimes I want to write my favorite musician a note about how much I enjoyed their show but I tell myself not to bother. How sometimes I’ll think a friend is doing something really great or inspiring but I don’t say anything. Or even simple things, like not complimenting a stranger when I like something that they’re wearing. What is the root of this repression? Does is all boil down to fear of a negative reaction?
Being an inherently shy person, it’s always been a struggle for me to put myself out there. It’s only in the past few years (this blog being a great example) that I’ve begun to focus less on what others think and more on my motives. To me, if your intentions are positive then there’s no reason to be shy. I mean, how many times have you received a surprise note from a friend or a compliment from a stranger that made your day? Everybody likes being the recipient of these actions so why do we hesitate to be the giver?
November to me is all about not holding these things in. It’s about getting them out and just putting as much positive energy into the universe as possible. Like other months, I’m aiming to do one thing per day, so by the end of the month I’ll have tallied up 30 “random acts of kindness”.
This month has also encouraged me to revisit the idea of paying it forward, a concept introduced to me by my friend Rebecca a few years ago. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it to some extent, but the basic gist is to do a favor for another person–without any expectation of being paid back.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I hope everyone will be inspired to be uncomfortably honest and unnecessarily kind to everyone you encounter.
p.s. I’d love suggestions that anyone has for random acts of kindness, ie. paying someones toll on the highway, etc.