My husband and I were at the movies recently and I overheard a conversation between the people sitting behind us. As the movie started to roll, the man said to the woman, “I want you to know, I am only seeing this for you.” My heart sank and I thought, “Hey Mr. Score Keeper, you just undid your good deed.” The movie sucked, so I’m sure the woman’s debt increased.
Doing things for others can be wonderful. But it is best done from the heart, in silence while expecting nothing in return. This might sound obvious, but I learned this lesson relatively late in life. I used to be a credit seeker. If I did something nice, I was just so damn proud of myself, I wanted talk about it. I was clueless how obnoxious it is to toot your own horn.
When I met my husband, I realized he didn’t do anything for recognition. In our 14 year relationship I don’t have one memory of him reminding me about what he has done for me. I see examples of his thoughtful gestures, through out the day. Chris is constantly renovating and decorating our old farm house. When I notice something cool, and ask him, ” How did you come up with that idea?” He will smile and say, “I thought you might like it.” His comment doesn’t come from a please notice me stance. He comes from a place of love.
My husband and I go about our days, thinking about how to make each other’s life happier and easier. What’s amazing, is it comes full circle. Sometimes I feel like Chris and I are in an unspoken, who can be nicer to the other one competition. I must say my being considerate skills are improving because I practice this silent game inside and outside of the home. I play it with friends and strangers. As I look for opportunities to be helpful to others, I swear people are nicer to me! I’m not sure if it’s actually true. It’s also possible, the more I focus on kindness, the more I experience.
I challenge you to try this game. There are 4 rules for this exercise.
1. Do something nice for someone.
2. Expect nothing in return.
3. Do it in silence.