Some thoughts on thoughtfulness

Giving is good for the soulSomeone did something very thoughtful for me today. My dear aunt brought over some supper for me. She knew that my kids and I have been sick for a while and she wanted to help. It was fantastic! And I’m not just talking about the cooking. Being able to take one night off from the never-ending suppertime routine changed the whole tone of what could have been an otherwise rough night. But even better was the fact that someone was thinking of me enough to go to the trouble of making food and then bringing it over to my house. It made me feel happy, and it made me feel special.

And that got me thinking about thoughtfulness (again). It’s always in the back of my mind, because I really enjoy doing thoughtful things for other people. It’s so fun to see their happiness and excitement, and to know that the thing I did brought them joy … giving is good for the soul.

But I don’t get around to it much anymore, now that I have kids. Why? Because being thoughtful takes work. It requires planning. Time. Energy. Extra steps. And even though I have great intentions, this well-meaning item on my to-do list just moves further and further down as things get busy and life gets chaotic.

So instead of giving up on it entirely, I really want to make this a priority in my life. I’ve decided I’m going to try to do one thoughtful thing each week for the rest of this year. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose or dramatic; sometimes the small things are the most meaningful.

To help get me started, I’m going to borrow a few things out of the playbooks of some especially thoughtful people (you know who you are! And if you don’t, well, then I guess I have to be more thoughtful about acknowledging the thoughtful people in my life : )

Some simple ideas:

  • Email someone a funny or sweet picture that reminds you of them
  • Go ahead and set up that lunch date you’ve been meaning to schedule
  • Call someone you haven’t talked to in forever
  • Write a hand-written letter or card
  • Bring someone a coffee
  • If you’re a hugger, give a bunch of them out
  • Make someone a mini care package to help them get through whatever craziness is going on in their life right now
  • Schedule a fun outside activity like biking, hiking or even just going for a quick walk with a friend

Setting yourself up for success:

  • Add friends’ and extended family members’ birthdays and anniversaries to your Google calendar (with reminders!)
  • Buy some cards for all occasions. A very thoughtful woman once told me that she periodically goes to the store and gets all of the nice cards she sees, so she always has something on hand when needed.
  • Create a stash of generic adult and kid gifts. A few super smart women I know do this. You don’t think you’d run into that many situations where you’d need an emergency gift, but it turns out that yes, yes you do! So it’s nice to be prepared.

I hope this helps you feel a little inspired and motivated, too – because this crazy world can always use a little more sunshine! And everyone deserves to feel a little bit special. So c’mon friends, let’s get out there and spread some happiness : )