Over the course of a day spent seeing clients, no matter how much I try and remind myself to keep my mouth shut and listen, I invariably say a lot of things to a lot of people. Like all people everywhere, there are some things I say more than others. “It takes time” is one. “What do YOU want?” is another. And, “Put some extra love out into the universe and you will get more in return.”
I say this thing about extra love because I believe it. I’ve seen it work, over and over. I’m a dedicated believer that love and positivity, given freely without expectation, will come back to you in quantities greater than you could imagine. Naturally, some of my clients are skeptical, as they have a right to be. And many simply want to know HOW. Here’s a little list of ideas to get you started.
Pay someone a genuine compliment. Compliments come in many forms. Obsequious, empty flattery usually feels as hollow to the receiver as it does to the sender. A genuine compliment, on the other hand, especially an unexpected one, can make someone’s day.
Give a genuine smile. Try this sometime. Pretend like you’ve been given five smiles that you have to give away in the next 10 minutes. Take a walk downtown or through your residence hall and give those smiles away while looking people right in the eye. This works best on people you don’t know. I realize that there are places in which a random smile from a stranger might not be acceptable. Choose somewhere else and give those smiles away.
Give someone a hand. Offer unsolicited help. If you see someone engaged in a mundane task, see if they could use some assistance. Carry something for someone. Open a door. Watch your neighbor’s kid so they can get a peaceful cup of coffee (as a parent I will tell you that this is worth 4,000 Karma Points).
Give thanks. Heartfelt gratitude is an amazing, contagious thing. If your boss makes your job a nice place to be, let her know. If your partner does a routine, daily task, thank them.
Tell someone that you’re glad they exist. I love this one and practice it regularly. “I’m happy you’re in my life” is something that people never grow tired of hearing. Call someone out of the blue and tell them exactly that, for no reason other than the generation of extra love.
Most of us have been raised to offer conditional gifts – “I gave you that, what are you getting me in return?” The act of giving without expectation does take practice, but it’s the kind of practice that feels good, even if you stumble a bit. Fill your world with unconditional love and watch it bloom into something life-sustaining.