New Glasses and a Kinder, Gentler World

For those of us who wear glasses, a new pair helps us “see” better. The murkiness is cleared up; we view what’s in front of us in a different way. Just as our vision is sometimes less than perfect, we often have a myopic view of the world, which limits us from “seeing” outside our own little universe. This narrow perspective leads to behavior that can be anything from inconsiderate or sad to downright mean. We get so caught up in OUR reality that we don’t “see” how we sometimes behave.

I truly believe that “nice” is underrated. I also believe we could use a little more civility, care and concern, so I’m offering up fifty ways we can, individually and collectively, attempt to create a “kinder, gentler world”, by SEEING day-to-day life differently. A lot of these are what I’d consider common sense, but too often see dismissed.

1. turn off the TV when you have company, unless watching a program, game, or movie is part of the reason they’re there

2. if you try something on in a store, and get makeup or deodorant on it, take it to a salesperson instead of putting it back on the rack

3. hold the door for the person behind you, regardless of their age, gender, or ability

4. give some respect to the folks who drive tractor-trailers; I know a lot of people who complain endlessly about “those awful big trucks”, but have no problem buying all the goods that end up in the stores (how do you think all that stuff got to those stores?)

5. if you’re walking behind a parent, with a little one in a stroller, and the child drops something, pick it up and give it back even if that means sprinting through the mall; it may be that child’s favorite toy or a shoe that just cost that parent too much money

6. if you have to (or want to) turn down an invitation don’t make up a story (“I’m sorry I can’t make it” is perfectly acceptable)

7. on an airplane stay within your “allotted” space….that means no legs in the area of the other person’s seat, no arms on the armrests on either side of the center seat (what’s the poor person in the middle supposed to do?), no speaking over someone sitting between you and friend

8. don’t throw cigarette butts out the window; I’ve never been a smoker so I can’t relate to having to deal with cigarette butts, however I sure don’t buy the excuse that “they burn away once I toss them out the window ” because I’ve SEEN piles of cigarette butts; what if everyone threw out little bits of paper?

9. don’t cut it line….all the people behind you matter too

10. think before you open your mouth; what you verbally put out to the universe, you can’t retrieve; unkind words kill the spirit

11. if you’re going to send holiday cards, at least sign your name; it’s not at ALL personal when you receive a card with a printed address label, that is ALSO pre-printed with “Merry Christmas, from Paul & Mary”

12. love the one you’re with (if that’s not possible, rethink that big part of your life)

13. if you think something nice, say it (even if it’s outside your “comfort zone”)

14. if you see someone walking around with a shirt inside out, something stuck in his or her teeth, or two different shoes, do them a favor and discreetly point it out (you’d want someone to do the same)

15. walk visitors to your home, to their car when they leave

16. don’t ask questions of strangers that are none of your business (for example, “obviously you’re not the birth parent, where did you adopt your child from?” love, not biology, determines parenthood)

17. don’t ask non-strangers questions that are none of your business (for example, “when are you getting married?” or “why don’t you have kids?”); if they wanted you to know that they’d share it

18. don’t stare at people who look different from you

19. if you break something in a friend’s home, replace it

20. RSVP (répondez s’il vous plaît) means “please respond”; do it (by the deadline) unless the invitation specifically says “no need to respond”; I’m always surprised when people don’t have the courtesy to simply say “yes” or “no”

21. ignore your phone when you’re with someone, unless you’re expecting a VERY important phone call; talk to the person you’re with, rather than constantly worrying about what you may be missing

22. when you’re at a restaurant, be polite enough to stop your conversation for a few moments for the server to take your order (especially if he or she has already stopped by a few times); I’ve never worked in the food industry but sure appreciate how tough that job must be

23. don’t make fun of other people-EVER; we’re all on this earth plane for very short time, and we ALL deserve to be treated with respect

24. if you’re in the hospital, or visiting someone who’s in a place where they’re being taken care of, be appreciative of the nurses who are lifting, cleaning, feeding and often saving lives all day

25. use the name of the person that you’re speaking to; it makes people feel good to be addressed by their name

26. if you take something off a rack or display in a store, put it back; just recently I saw a woman lay out all kinds of small area rugs, on the floor in a store to make a decision; she left without putting any of them back; a sense of entitlement is NOT cool

27. if you see a couple, or a group of people, taking turns snapping each other’s pictures, offer to take one of them together

28. don’t blow your horn just because you can; use it only when it’s REALLY necessary

29. if you’re tall enough, help a person get something off a high shelf in a grocery store

30. say “I love you” if you feel that way; this is one of those “things I’ve seen more clearly” as I’ve aged; you never know when you’ll see someone you love for the last time; share that sentiment whenever you can

31. listen when someone’s talking to you; I know that may be tough because you think what you have to say may be more important, but chances are good they feel the same way

32. if you see someone who’s wearing a uniform that shows he/she’s serving our country, thank him/her for the sacrifices made so that we can walk around freely

33. let someone in front of you in a grocery store line if they only have a few items and you have a full cart

34. apologize when you say something you didn’t mean, when you say something you meant but then realized how hurtful it was, and when you do something that you regret; “I’m sorry” gets easier when you say it more often

35. don’t spit on the ground or out of your car window; yeah I know that you just HAVE TO get whatever it is out of your mouth RIGHT NOW, but can you imagine if everyone did the same thing?

36. if you’re going to be at someone’s home for anything but a potluck (where everyone brings food/drink to share) bring a small, thoughtful gift that says, “thank you for inviting me”

37. give a wave to the person who let’s you in, when you’re in a line of traffic

38. if you splash water all over the sink in a public restroom, get a paper towel and wipe it off so that the next person who uses the sink doesn’t have to deal with a wet mess

39. compliment freely; a friend, a family member, someone who has an awesome smile, a great haircut, or children who have beautiful dining out manners; those kind words just may change that person’s day

40. send a hand-written thank you note to show appreciation

41. if you have a dog and walk him/her somewhere other than on your property, make sure to clean up any messes

42. say “thank you” to the person who makes your coffee, the people who work for you, someone who holds the door for you, the mail carrier…….you get the point

43. in a group of people don’t monopolize the conversation; of course you’re interesting and witty but someone else may be too

44. if you have children who play sports, thank the coaches who so generously volunteer their time

45. when there’s a death in the family of someone you know, reach out and ask what HE/SHE needs; chances are good that “one more casserole” might be much more appreciated a few weeks later when everyone else has gone back to “business as usual”

46. make the accumulation of experiences and memories more important than the accumulation of “things”

47. share- whether that’s your time and energy or your money; even an hour or $10 makes a difference

48. send a card to someone you know, for no reason other than to brighten the day

49. appreciate what you have and who you are; thank God for anyone who adds joy to your life

50. if you think something nice, say it….oh yeah, I said that in number 13, but we could all hear that one more than once

It may be tough to change some behaviors overnight but “the little things”, taken in manageable steps, DO make a difference, in changing your life. Think about the way you view the world. Think about the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Who knows, if we all “put on a new pair of glasses” we just might create a kinder, gentler world.







5 thoughts on “New Glasses and a Kinder, Gentler World

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