If someone were to ask me, “What makes you happy?”, my answer would be pretty simple. I’m not a woman who cares about owning an expensive pair of shoes. I’m not a woman who cares which fashion trends are ‘in’. I’m not a woman who needs a beautiful house, lots of money, or extravagant gifts to be happy. I feel happy just being in the company of my family and friends. I feel happy just spending a day at the park with my children. I feel happy just living in moments that make me smile.
But when do I feel the happiest, though?
I feel the happiest when I am nice to someone else. When I am nice to someone else, whether it be my family, my friends, or even to a stranger in the street; I get this tingly feeling inside of me. It leaves a smile on my face that I just can’t wipe away. I choose to be nice because it’s a big part of who I am. I’m nice because I can be.
Being nice is just who I am
I remember when I was 14 years old. I was sitting in the school library and I overheard another girl telling her friend that she needed a pen. I didn’t know these girls, but I walked right over and offered mine to them. I remember how grateful they were and the smiles on their faces. I remember sitting back down in my seat, and grinning to myself. It felt good knowing that I’d helped someone. As small as the gesture had been, it had made a big impact on them and on me. I believe these small gestures matter more than we realise.
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I was the sort of 16 year old that couldn’t walk past the Project Compassion donations box and not put in some money, I always thought someone was worse off than me. I spent weeks fundraising over $200 for the 40 Hour Famine and passed up a delicious dinner at my grandparents’ house to see the 40 hours through. I just wanted to make a difference.
I was the 17 year old who would juggle her high school studies with giving advice to her friends, because it meant the world to her to see other people happy. I just didn’t want them to feel alone.
Even as a 24 year old now, it makes me smile to pay someone else a compliment. It makes me smile to wash the dishes at my friend’s house. It makes me smile to ask someone how their day is. It makes me smile to share my friend’s posts, comment on their blogs, or look at their photos. It makes me smile just to show someone that I care.
Being nice is a good thing
My life might be incredibly busy being the mother of a 2, 4 and 6 year old (all of whom have developmental delays), but I think it’s still important to care about others as well. It only takes a second to make someone feel loved. It only takes a second to put someone else first.
Helping others has been proven to have a positive effect on our emotional and physical health, so being nice can be beneficial for both us and others. It can increase our short-term and long-term happiness.
Be nice because you can be
I choose to be nice, not because I have to but because I want to be.
- You may not need to let that car or person move in front of you, but it might make that person’s day just a little bit easier.
- You may not need to be friendly to the receptionist at the doctor’s office, but maybe your laughter might help them get through the day.
- You may not need to tell someone how well they’re doing with their life, but sometimes people just need that reassurance.
It may be important to think of our own needs, but it’s also important to think of others from time to time.
We all have essentially the same goals – to live a meaningful life, be surrounded by loving people, and to feel happy. So try your best to help others achieve the goals that, you too, are striving for.
Don’t be nice because you feel compelled to be. Be nice because it makes you happy to see others happy.
Think twice about the difference you’re making to people’s lives.
And just be nice because you can be.