Could you do it? Could you do something nice for someone every single day for six weeks? I'm not just talking being nice to your kids or husband, I'm talking going out of your way to do something nice for someone each day- especially if it doesn't get recognition. Could you do it?
I did it and let me tell you a bit about how it has already changed my life.
I recently have been going through a lot of emotions. My energy has been off. I've felt off. Whenever I feel "off" I look at it as an opportunity to dig deeper into myself and into my bible. This is something I was raised to do. I recall my step dad telling me to "take it to the Lord". I used to view it as harsh.. like um.. why don't you just listen to my problems and make me feel better-- but now I'm glad he instilled that in me, because a lot of my internal issues have been fixed with an extra dose of getting quiet, reading my bible, and just being.
That being said, even though I was diving into my bible and spending a lot of time praying I was struggling with feelings of bitterness, loneliness, selfishness, etc. I didn't want to feel that way, I hate feeling that way. This needed to change.
I recently have had to accept somethings I was putting off. Someone really close to me chose a different path in life than I expected. The path that she chose doesn't have much room for me in it. This woman changed my life. She came into my life at the perfect time and she helped me through some really hard things. She was there when I was alone. She was practically a soul mate to me. She was my twisted sister, my very best friend.
We currently live in separate states and she does a lot of volunteer work for a foundation. She lives a very strict lifestyle and often goes into silence. For the average person, going into silence is for short periods of time, but she has always gone into silence for rather long periods of time. Shortly after my son was born, I received an email from her stating that she would be going into silence for a couple months and was looking forward to talking to me again soon.
At this point, I had accepted that some friendships are different. I accepted her way of life and the fact that I couldn't always communicate with her the way that most people communicate with their friends. It was hard, but it would be alright, it wouldn't last forever... Or so I thought. A month turned into two, which turned into six, which turned into eight, which finally turned into a year. The intensity of my emotions were unreal. I felt like someone had punched a deep hole in my chest. Some people come into your life and they leave imprints on your heart instead of just good memories. We all have those friends that we literally can't imagine living without, and she was one of them. I went through every emotion possible. The worst part was people asking me about her. It took me ten months to finally come to terms that I might never see or talk to her again. It took me ten long months of missing my best friend. Ten months of not fully trusting other friends. Ten months of taking out my emotions on my other friends who didn't deserve it. I decided it was time to let go and I let go the very best way I knew how.
Life went on, I mean, I'm raising a toddler--- life HAS to go on. I was carrying on with my life and dealing with this new version of me I didn't really like. I was bitter. I decided I didn't want to make new friends, I would keep the friends I had and be nice but I wasn't going above and beyond.. EVER.. AGAIN.
Then one day, out of the blue, my email *dinged.
13 months 2 weeks and 4 days after my friend emailed me, she sent me an email. It was quick, a simple, "I miss you. Life has been crazy. I'm so sorry if you have been hurt. I will talk to you when I can." kind of message.
That was when all of the emotions came flooding back with a vengeance. I was angry, confused, sad, bitter, relieved, happy, and fifty shades of emotional. It took me three days to respond to her email. I decided that I didn't want to let my emotions get the best of me. I was going to only email her back with a level head. I sat down to email her and stared at the screen for what felt like hours. I was level headed of course, but tears streamed down my face. It was a very intense feeling. She had practically vanished from my life without a trace and then showed back up again, how can someone do that? I had went through a point where I wondered if she even existed, there was no trace of her on social media, she didn't answer emails or her phone-- but I remembered I had pictures of us together, my family knew her, etc. Once I drafted the email, I clicked send and waited. She emailed me back and a conversation went on for a few days.
To be honest, I had never felt more alone in my life. I talked to other friends and no one had words of advice for me because they had never gone through the same thing. I spoke with a therapist who told me I was handling the situation well, but it didn't feel like it. It was hard. I knew that once again, I would probably not hear from her for a while. I found myself wishing she would have chosen something different to do with her life.
Later that night, I was reading this old story about a yogi who had many followers who were coming to her and telling her that they were suffering from feelings and emotions that they couldn't get away from. She expressed that the hurt or anger would be so deep in a person that it would change them on a spiritual level. Many of her followers expressed doing their best to move on, spending more time in devotions, spending more time with God, getting physical activity, "letting go", and moving on but nothing was working.
The yogi, not knowing how to help her followers then went and meditated on how to help her followers. She spent six days praying, meditating, and searching ancient texts for answers. On the seventh day she came back to her followers with an answer:
I want you to write in a book the emotions you're feeling. Write down the thoughts that go through your head when you are having these dark and negative feelings. Let the tears fall from your eyes and stain the paper. Then I want you to close the book and put it up. Next I want you to commit to doing something for six weeks. For six weeks, I want you to do something nice for someone. Every single day I want you to go out of your way to be kind and do a kind gesture for someone. I don't want you to do something nice out of vain, I want you to really think about your kindness. If you miss a day, I want you to start over.
Six weeks later many of her followers came back to her reporting a change of heart. Her followers were completely different people. Lives were changed. Families were saved. Broken friendships were repaired.
The story really stuck with me. I went to bed that night and dreamed about it. I couldn't seem to get it out of my head. I was ready for change.
So I sat down and begin to pour my heart into a journal.
I wondered how I would be able to do this. I'm already a kindhearted person and often give of myself too much. My husband was concerned I would burn myself out with this. I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find a nice thing to do each day for someone. My mother was supportive. I reminded myself that doing something nice for someone wouldn't be the same as the normal things I do everyday, like making my husband's favorite dinner. I knew one thing, life was about to change one way or another.
Over the past six weeks I have changed. I found that when I was open to giving to others, giving of myself, opportunities would present themselves. I'm not going to go into all the "good deeds" I did but I will say this-- the first two weeks were the hardest. There were days I didn't want to be good. There were days and many opportunities for me to tell someone off, but I didn't (oddly enough, a soft answer turned away wrath and things went much better than they could have gone). There were days I didn't want to give to others. There were days I wondered why people weren't giving to me. There were days I wanted to quit, because how could doing good for others really change my life?
I didn't quit though.
I kept giving.
I was able to let go of the hurt from past failed relationships. I was able to let go of jealousy. I was able to see my faults without beating myself up. I began to give people a chance to get to know me. I began to sleep better. I began to have more patience with my husband and my son. I had multiple emotional releases. I stepped out of my shell and did hot yoga for a week and had emotional releases from that.
This wasn't the easiest of transitions. I realized what a selfish person I can be. I realized how bitchy I can be. I realized that I was judging people based on how I felt about myself. I was even judging people by the friends they had. I realized I didn't give people a chance to get to know me. I also began to care a little more about things I didn't give much thought to before.
One of the coolest things from all of this?
My husband even began to change. He began to take his walk with the Lord more seriously. He began to give to others more. He began to take time for himself that didn't involve video games.
Our friends and family members began to notice the change as well-- which felt great because the change really felt real.
Giving has become a normal thing in our family now. My husband and I always bring a few disposable water bottles with us when we run errands and give our waters and snacks to homeless people on the street without thinking twice. It doesn't even feel like a big deal to us. In fact, if we don't have anything to give to someone we feel really bad, when in the past we used to feel uncomfortable if we had to stop next to someone holding a sign. We've watched our son begin to do nice things for others, sure he is only a little over a year old, but he is still doing random nice things-- for example, I dropped my phone the other night while I was nursing him. He unlatched, got down on the floor, picked up my phone, gave it to me and then gave me a kiss before he went back to nursing.
I'm different now. I don't know how else to describe in unless you go through something like this yourself, but I would really like to encourage you to do it! I feel like a new person. I have a new outlook on life. I'm calmer and more relaxed. When something upsets me, it doesn't bother me as long as it used to. I began to accept myself. I began to understand that there is room for everyone who has passion for anything in this world. I began to enjoy the little things..
Sound like you need a change? Is any of this resonating with you?
Now my question to you is:
Can you do it? Will you do it? What do you have to lose?
If you would like to take the challenge-- please PLEASE reach out to me! It is so important to have someone for support during this time! You can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org Please put in the subject line 6 Weeks of Giving.
In the mean time, if you are doing the challenge and looking for ways to do something nice for others, here are some thoughtful things:
You can find more ideas here.
As always, I love hearing from you! Leave me a comment & let's connect!
Who am I?
My name is Jessica Kellaway! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about!