My kindness experiment is turning into a learning experience for me.
I'm a grand-gesture kind of girl. I wish I had unlimited funds because I could have so much fun doing things for people. Great big things that could really change their lives. I've been lamenting the disparity between my dreams and my reality – until I learned a couple important lessons.
A woman I work with returned from a business trip with a beautiful new necklace. I admired it – noting how well the silver and gold tones worked together. A few weeks later, she left the necklace on my desk. I was excited, but immediately went to her desk to pay for it…and offended her in the process.
It taught me that I need to learn to accept gifts from others. I am way more comfortable giving than I am receiving. I think a lot of people are like this because we have a hard time accepting large gifts without feeling obligated or indebted somehow. Feeling like you owe someone is an icky feeling that eliminates whatever joy you should have felt by receiving a gift of that magnitude.
Think about it, if someone offers you a new car, aren't you going to wonder what strings are attached? Is it really free? What's wrong with it? What do I have to do? It's hard to believe a stranger wants to give away something so valuable without getting something in return. Am I right?
That's when I learned little gestures can have a larger overall impact because they are more easily accepted. People go straight to "Isn't that nice?" instead of "What do you want from me?"
And so this week, instead of making a grand gesture (of which I still have plenty planned), I opted to do something small. Something more easily digested.
I put a big bowl of Chex Mix (with a bag of M&Ms tossed in for good measure) on my desk and watched people help themselves throughout the day. A little thing, but it still felt good.
And not a single person asked me why.