You have the choice to treat people however you like and sometimes that will depend on how much you care.
Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind for long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.
Without knowing it, sometimes the kindness of strangers can be enough to change someone’s mood or brighten their day.
It doesn’t have to be something big, it could be as small as making someone a drink or picking something up that you thought they’d like when you’re out shopping.
In order to do those things you have to get out of your head a little and pay attention to what’s around you. In some ways kindness is about not being bare minimum.
You do it because you want to, not because you have to.
Sometimes we put off the very thing that we know we need to do because we don’t feel ready.
We make excuses and say things like, I need more time, I’ll do it when xyz or even I don’t think it will go well. The list is endless.
At times, the truth is you’re not ready and you do need more time.
But other times, you’re in need of a push.
The only way you’ll do the thing you’ve been putting off is if someone forces you to.
Perhaps you’re someone that lives in a big city and you want to move away, change your lifestyle and slow down.
In order to do that you need to leave your job but you keep finding reasons why you can’t like needing to save X amount, work on one more big project or wait until things are less busy.
For that scenario the push would be being made redundant because maybe you’d never have left.
The push may initially seem like a catastrophic major life disaster but when you give it a little time you’ll always find that it was for the best
That may come in the form of you losing your job.
In the company of one as in you, yourself and um you, there are many valuable lessons to learn.
A significant one being Who am I?
It’s much easier to gain an understanding of yourself when you’re not having to consider others. I think that the aspects of you in solitude should be the aspects of you that show up when you’re in the company of others.
Things like being able to say what you want, contribute opinions, take the lead and just be you.
For example, when you’re doing things alone you have to make decisions, you can’t rely on others to choose for you.
But for some despite how they are when they’re alone, in the company of others they end up being ‘them but less’, perhaps a little passive or even submissive.
You do it because you want to play the peacemaker or not rock the boat, you don’t think you deserve to be heard or perhaps you’re just scared.
Hiding/playing small is difficult to overcome once it’s ingrained in you as a habitual response.
But change is possible, it just takes practice.
It’s now a full week after New Year’s Day.
How are you goals, resolutions or plans coming along?
You might find that after 7 days you’re still enthusiastic and motivated or you might have found that you’ve lost steam.
If you resonate with the latter then it might be useful to ask yourself why?
Why after such a short period of time are you no longer committed or dedicated to the things that you were overflowing with excitement about less than a dozen days ago.
This could be the perfect time to call yourself out and acknowledge that the new year was not enough to change you into a brand new version of you.
There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I’d say that’s the case for most of us.
Forming new habits or committing to new projects isn’t easy when you’re used to doing things a different way. And so the challenge or the work is to find a way of implementing new habits that works for you.
Or maybe it should be good vs better.
Sometimes better is worse than good but we think that good is enough so we don’t aim for better. The mindset of a Bare Minimum Betty often lies in the good zone.
Because when your bare minimum is good enough why would you do any better.
If you choose to aim for better that could mean a variety of things, a key one being commitment but it’s more than that.
Aiming for better is:
Trying something new that in the words of Seth Godin ‘might not work’
Doing more than you have to
Looking for ways to improve
Offering to help someone else
On learning to see things more clearly.
In situations where your perspective is hazy you might need someone to polish your glasses.
Not in the literal sense but in the form of sharing words, interacting and connecting.
When you’re so used to your own way of thinking you might find that you’ve become rigid and closed minded.
And unless you make a conscious effort to open your mind, your way of seeing things is not likely to change.
That’s why it’ll take someone else to shift your way of seeing things. Someone that’ll come into your life with polish and one one of those microfiber dust free cloths to give your glasses a little polish.
And it’ll rarely be explicit instead it’ll be so subtle that you don’t notice until it’s already done.
I think that’s the purpose some people serve in our lives. They could be in your life for multiple years or a mere moment but they spark change.
But make it humorous.
How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?
And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.
It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.
So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.