It’s possible that making a difference in the lives of those around us isn’t as big a deal as I originally thought. There was a time I believed in order to truly impact someone’s life, I would need to perform a great feat, putting in lots of time and labor.
As it turns out, it isn’t true. Although it took putting many years behind me, I’ve come to realize that it’s actually quite easy. I’ve been making an effort to look people in the eye more often and smile, thereby acknowledging them on a personal level. This all came about simply. One day I was loading my groceries into the car and it struck me that I couldn’t walk back into the store and point to the checker whose line I had just gone through.
That brought me back to that old saying, “children are to be seen but not heard.” I realized it was a bad attitude I was applying to my own life, with a twist. Most people around me, in my day to day living, were being heard but not seen. I could go grocery shopping and not see the checker, go to the movies, buy a ticket, but not be able to describe the ticket seller five minutes later, stand in line at Costco conversing with the women behind me without knowing the color of her eyes or her hair, eat out and not know who our waitress is, even though she’s been to the table and taken our order, and go to the doctor and leave without knowing which nurse took my blood pressure.
How sad that I was so wrapped up in my safe and sound little bubble, I was impenetrable. It was as if I were blind, seeing only part of the world around me with selected sight, the part that was important in my eyes. It occurred to me this was a selfish way to life. How could I pay so little attention to human beings put in my path? Didn’t I know what a difference could be made in the simple act of acknowledgment?
I’m making a conscious effort these days to take notice of my environment and the people in it. I complimented the earrings worn by a woman working in a restaurant the other day and she was so flattered she went out of her way to provide great service. She seamed to be so happy someone noticed.
I’ve been making it a point to talk to the people that work in jobs providing services I use regularly. I can imagine they appreciate a smile and having their well being asked after. I set a goal when doing errands to see the eye color of those who take my deposit, ring up my groceries, hand me a latte, take the dry cleaning, clip the dogs toe nails, seat us for a meal and help me select the perfect ground cover.
It’s making a difference, not only in those I come in contact with, but in me. I feel as though I’m waking up after a long drowsy spell. If you notice yourself saying “thank you” with your head down while you shove you’re wallet back into your purse, try and remember to look up. Look the person in the eye, smile, and say “Thanks. Have a great day.” You’ll be amazed by how such simple gestures can really make a difference.