Two Corners, One Message

A few days ago, en route to the gym, I was stopped at a red light and happened to look to my right. There I saw a corn-a-licious, heartwarming scene. It was what seemed to be a father and his young daughter, playing on the corner with their bags stacked on the sidewalk as they waited for a bus.  The little girl was behind him, hands in his pockets, as the man pretended he was looking for her. He kept turning and turning, flailing his arms in the air as if he was puzzled by where she might have gone. The little girl giggled and giggled, jumping around behind him, enjoying the delicious silliness of it all.

I watched and smiled, just enjoying the pureness and love in that moment. I never really had that sort of relationship with my father, and I felt happy for that little girl for her possession of that moment. The simple scene gave me comfort, hope and a warm, cuddly feeling. And I think we know by now, that I feed on these warm fuzzies like mice on cheese.

Then yesterday, I left work a little early because I wasn’t feeling well. I was stopped at a red light again, and also looked to the right (I guess this is my direction of choice). This time I saw a completely different scene on another, very different corner. There was a young man in a bright red sweater sitting on the sidewalk, surrounded by policemen, whirling around, looking very confused, scared and out of control. It was obvious he was pretty drugged up as the cops tried to control the situation and question him.

At that moment, I remembered the other, more pleasant corner scene I had seen a few days back, and suddenly felt a strange, but strong connection between the two. That little girl was seeking love, laughter and understanding from her father in the same way that the young man was searching for it from those cops.

Many of us would see a scene like that and automatically think lowly of that person, judge him, and ridicule him. But who knows what brought that young man to his current plight. Who knows what love or comfort he has been denied in his life, what trauma he might have experienced, and how scared he must be in order to act out in that way, and find himself on a street corner pleading for understanding.

So, I think I know what you’re thinking. That’s a lovely story Sonia, but what is your point? My point is about connection, kindness and understanding – things I believe we can all make an effort to exercise more often. I’ve already talked a lot about this in different ways.

It’s the idea that we are all essentially fighting the same battle and looking for the same comfort, that we should try and be more understanding of each other and less judgmental, and that we should extend our hands and hearts whenever we can. This doesn’t mean we should make excuses for people, give them way too many chances, or let them hurt us. But I do think we could stand to give a few chances away, because when you constantly tell someone they are nothing, they will start to believe it, and they will never think they are worth change. Plus, kindness doesn’t only help those you offer it to. Believe it or not, it can help quiet your own anxieties, and make your everyday richer, and more connected.

I really hope that little girl knows and appreciates what she has, and I hope that young man was offered the help he needs. I also hope that, in some small way, he knows someone out there is rooting for him. And I know. I’m so corny, you can hardly stand it. But it’s good for you. I promise!

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Connect More & Remember You’re ALIVE

On Saturday, I went to an Ivy Queen and La India concert. For those of you who have no clue who they are, they are reggaeton and salsa artists, one of which, La India, I grew up listening to. I even remember singing one of her songs, Me Canse De Ser la Otra (please excuse the majorly cheesy 90’s video), at a high school talent show decked out in a little purple dress and way too much makeup for a 17 year-old. I probably should have known I had a little bit of diva in me at that very moment.

But anyway, I’ve been wanting to make it a point to go to more concerts and live music events, since I felt I couldn’t afford it for a long time, and what makes you feel more alive than music, right? So the night started off slow. There were about 10 different opening acts, and my friend and I were beginning to get a little restless for the main performers to come out. But when they finally did, it was so worth it. When Ivy Queen came onto the stage, she was high-spirited and talked a lot about love, humanity and equality. Two of my favorite things she said were (I might not have the quotes exactly right here):

“Hay veces que una blanquita se enamora de un negrito, y le quieren hacer la vida cuadritos.”

Translation: “There’s times when a white girl falls in love with a black boy, and they want to tear her life into shreds.”

“Love doesn’t have a race. Love doesn’t have a color. Love doesn’t have a gender. Porque somos todos seres humanos (because we are all human beings).”

And at that moment, I felt connected. I felt connected to her words, her identity and her Spanglish. 🙂 I felt alive and suddenly very aware of what it’s really all about. Our lives get so busy, so full of to-do lists, appointments, and hurdles that sometimes we forget to just live, to be present in the moment, to connect with ourselves and others. We forget to remember that whether all of us admit to the corn (corny-ness) or not, we’re all searching for the very same thing. We are all searching for love, for acceptance, for understanding, and for our place and purpose in the world.

So I stood there, singing and dancing my little heart out, and really being very conscious at that moment that I am alive, I know and love who I am, life is good, and I am privileged to be here (thinking of my friend’s all too young cousin who recently passed away in a car accident). It’s important to not let these moments pass you by. Breathe in their air, and take in their life. Moments don’t have to be out of this world to be meaningful. You just have to be awake and aware enough to enjoy them.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just my little slice of corn for the day. What makes you feel alive? What makes you feel connected?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Everybody Needs a Fan Club

In my last few sessions with my therapist I’ve been talking a lot about my blog, my book and my dreams of becoming a motivational speaker one day (let’s be real – we could all use a little workin’ on by a professional once in a while). I’ve also talked a lot about a recent breakup that affected me much more than you’d ever think a two-month pseudo boyfriend would, and a nasty email I received from an ex co-worker a few weeks ago. And from this emerged a conversation around the importance of working to build a community of support for yourself.

So what do I mean when I talk about building a community of support? Well, this is something that I believe I’ve been working on for years now, but my therapist really wrapped it up in a nice bow for me. Building a community of support means surrounding yourself with people who just plain get you, people who support you, understand where you’re coming from, and serve as a mirror for your truth. It also means shutting people and situations out that perceive you incorrectly, do not want the best for you, or just don’t get it. This doesn’t mean you should surround yourself with a herd of clones. Please, never, ever do that! It just means surrounding yourself with people who can be themselves and allow you to do the same in a welcoming, and loving environment.

Sometimes when people say nasty things to us, break up with us, use their words and actions to bring us down, we tend to start wondering, wait, are they right? Am I this person they make me out to seem? Do I deserve this? And in a lot of cases, the answer is a big fat NO. A lot of times it’s a matter of people projecting their own insecurities on you, and sometimes it’s not evil, but just plain misunderstanding – like a puzzle piece that just doesn’t fit. That is why it’s so important to discover your truth, and stick to it. Do not let people’s comments, criticisms, rejection, pokes and punches allow you to forget or discount who you know in your heart you really are.

For me, I pride myself on being a consistent person. I think most people that know me, and I mean really know me, would say they pretty much get the same Sonia across any situation with few surprises. I also pride myself on being genuine, and being as transparent as possible even when the response might not be entirely positive. I am optimistic and solutions-based instead of focusing on the negative or the problem. Although I might very well hurt others sometimes (don’t we all), I never do it intentionally, and I’m always more than willing to say, “I’m sorry.” I consider myself a pretty nice, smart, reliable and fun person – although just a bit neurotic sometimes, but hey, I like to keep it interesting. I work hard, but I also play hard. I’m a dream chaser, an achievement junkie, and the biggest, most hopeless romantic you’ve ever met in your life. I have a lot of great qualities, but I’m also majorly flawed, very self-aware, and always working to be just a little bit better. That is my truth. It is the Sonia I know and love.

My point is that not everyone sees that Sonia. There are people out there who might think I’m the total opposite of what I’ve just described, people who just don’t get me, and don’t understand where I’m coming from or where I’m trying to go. The message here is that’s OK. It’s life, simple as that. What I have learned throughout my journey to HAPPY and with reassurance from the good ol’ doc, is that our focus must be on building a community for ourselves that is supportive, that gets it, and that sees our truth as we see it. And to everyone else? Bye bye suckas! What was #1 in 6 ways to self counsel?

“You are SONIA. This situation does not define you. These people do not define you. You are smart. You are capable, and you can do anything.”

That’s right. How many times have I already mentioned fighting that good fight? Well this is yet another instance of that. Being happy, centered and living a positive life does not just happen my friends. It takes work, dedication, and sometimes a little blood, sweat and many, many tears – but it’s SO incredibly worth it. So if you trust your truth with all your gut, stick to it proudly, build your community of support, and close the door on those that simply do not fit. Your happiness is your job, not theirs. Take it out of their hands, and firmly into your own.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Positive Patty Always Wins

OK, maybe not ALWAYS, but let me tell you, Positive Patty seems to win a lot more often than Sour Sonia ever did. I don’t know if it’s cosmic karma or what, but ever since I jumped on the positivity wagon, things in my life just generally seem to go the way I want them to more often.

It’s simple things like beating another applicant for a great apartment, finding a sweet parking spot late at night, getting a break on a bill, selling myself well enough to get a pretty raise right when I needed it most, or just having a delivery come right when I need it.

Back in my Negative Nelly days, I feel like every little thing just seemed to go wrong. The negative thoughts seemed to snowball, and have real tangible effects on life events. Now positive thoughts seem to be having the same effect. Woah. This is much, much better!

It might sound a little kooky, but it seems like that whole, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it,” deal is pretty real. By no means am I suggesting nothing ever goes wrong in Sonia’s world, because it does. But even when that happens, I find that thinking positively helps me turn around that negative situation much faster, and turn it into something much better than what I originally hoped would happen.

And, if you don’t believe me, a stress management article on MayoClinic.com states that positive thinking and optimism actually provide a variety of health benefits like:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Speaking of positivity, hope also seems to be a helpful little tool in this life deal. The topic reminds me of a University of Manchester study I once wrote about in relation to hope and success entitled, Can hope get you further than smarts, grades and personality? The blog talks about a three-year study that investigated hope, intelligence, personality and grades in relation to achievement. The study actually found that hope often wins over the other factors when predicting success.  Isn’t that something?

It looks like we really have a lot more control over our lives than we think. So perk up, clear those negative thoughts, and watch how positivity, hope, and all-around good vibes suddenly start to make things just a little easier. It’s sure working for me, and I’d love to see it change someone else’s life too!

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Celebrating Your Own Definition of Success

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This Friday, at the tender age of 28 (OK, maybe not so tender anymore), I will be moving into my first one-bedroom apartment. Since I skedaddled off from Hialeah to go to college at 17, I have had probably a half dozen roommates, and lived in efficiencies, pool houses, and most recently a studio. It occurs to me that this might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people who might have had different situations or might even be looking into buying an apartment at the same age, but me?  I am beyond excited for my new big-girl home complete with an adult couch, dining table and a porch! I’m also so proud of the progression I’ve seen in my life over the last few years. That is why I want to talk about the importance of celebrating your very own definition of success.

Success should never be defined by a certain salary, where you live, the car you drive, or the clothes you wear. Instead, success should always be measured by whatever that means to you, and in the context of your life and the specific cards you’ve been dealt. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others are doing or where they might be in their life, and what society expects of us at certain ages or stages.

In college, I always felt a little down because I had to live in the less fancy apartments or parts of town. It hurt a little to listen to others talk about expensive vacations and spring breaks I never had the opportunity to take, or the tuition or even fun money checks they’d receive in the mail. I was always on my own. Me, my financial aid checks, and my part-time jobs, and sometimes that felt so unfair. Sometimes it still does. Even between degrees, when I was working full-time in Miami and barely making it with a salary a lot of people my age were doing OK on due to less debt and more help from their parents, I felt a little cheated. Moving to Chicago even seemed like it was so much harder for me with the lack of support. And well, woe was me ya’ll.

But as I’ve progressed through my 20s and entered this whole new stage of maturity, understanding, positivity and love for myself, I’ve learned to look at my disadvantages as advantages, and celebrate my own definition of success. I’ve learned to stop worrying about what others are doing, and think about how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am now. I’ve learned to think about my success in the context of my life and my circumstances, not anyone else’s. And that has made me so much happier and more content with what I have.

Success to me means progress, and I think I do a pretty good job of constantly staying on that path. Moving to Chicago, and leaving my less than desirable situation in Miami was progress. Getting a series of paid internships here while I worked on my MBA was progress. Plowing through tough quantitatively based courses (I always joke that past 2 + 2, I’m not much in the math department), and finishing my MBA with a 3.5 grade point average was progress. Getting myself a 54% raise when I finished my MBA? Man, that was progress! Maintaining an above average credit score despite all of my money noise, that is progress. Going from a roommate to a studio to a one bedroom is progress. Even going from having to do my own nails, to being able to get them done was progress for me, and it still feels so, so good. What can I say? This girl likes to feel pretty.

Losing 50 pounds last year even though that makes me by no means thin, that was progress. Sure, I’ve gained a few back (very few, don’t get crazy), but I’m still thinner than I’ve been in years, and although I still struggle with weight, I’ve seen a huge change in myself. I worry about exercise and try to get to it at least a few times a week. I pay more attention to what I eat, and I make more of an effort to maintain. I feel stronger, I like how I look in my clothes, and I no longer feel like an obese person. I just feel like a normal person. That is not perfection, but it is major progress.

Success, to me, also means constantly moving forward in small ways. Finally working on my book and starting this blog, and getting serious about my author dreams now that I’m finally done with school, and I’m in a good place – that is moving forward. This relatively new sense of self-love, appreciation and understanding, and always working to come from a positive place is moving forward. Watching myself become increasingly better able to handle negativity from others without crumbling – that is a major step forward too.

For me, success is really a combination of being proud of who I am and how I treat others. It means working hard, and constantly getting a little better at life, my job, relationships, etc. It means constantly working on my craft. It means being liked and respected by others, and seeing that people know my word is worth something. It means sticking to my dreams and aspirations no matter how hard it gets. It means standing up for who I am, and not letting others make me into their own vision of me. It means being a little different and quirky. It means having great friends, and making the time to laugh, sing and dance regardless of how busy life gets, but also knowing how to have fun with just me. It means living and saying my truth, even when people lash out at me for it.

To me, success means being a person my little 11 year old sister can look up to and respect, and maybe want to be just a little bit like when she gets older. 🙂 It means never treating someone in a manner I wouldn’t want to be treated. And finally, it means putting myself in an increasingly better financial situation little by little, and breaking the chain of my past. I have no dreams of being a millionaire. I just want to be in a place where I can pay down my school debt, pay all my bills with ease, and have enough for the occasional luxury or trip (I’m obsessed with the thought of visiting Africa someday). It means one day being able to provide a much different, but still very much grounded, life for my sister as she gets older, and for my children (now there’s just the pesky detail of a husband!).

It’s really all about that fight for authenticity. That battle we all face to be who you are and live the life you want, to be successful in the way that makes you happy. So please, I urge you. Do yourself a favor, and start celebrating your own definition of success. It’s just another effective path to HAPPY.

And, while we’re on the topic of success, if you need a little help in the area, here’s one of my favorite articles on things successful people do differently. It’s an oldie, but a goodie, and you can read it here. Now I’ve told you what success means to me. What does it mean to you?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

20 Pick-me-up, Power Songs

Since I started this blog last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power and influence of music. I’m sure you can see this by my medley-riddled post Success is my only mofo option, failure’s not (can I say mofo?). As a writer and a lover of words, I am easily consumed by lyrics and constantly find myself quoting songs, or frantically searching for a specific tune when I’m in a particular mood. One of my favorite things about music is its ability to pump you up, give you a little pick-me-up, reassure you, and comfort you – all within just a few minutes.

There are a number of songs that I never get tired of listening to, and that always make me feel suddenly powerful, perhaps even just a little bit taller (it’s not too hard at 5’3). So, I decided to put together a list of 20 of my favorite, what I like to call pick-me-up, power songs. These are songs that just have a way of bringing me back to my center, and remind me of what really matters.

Now bear with me. I have a very eclectic taste in music. Although you might not exactly be into country music or Spanish pop, give me a chance here. Take a listen to the songs, pay close attention to the lyrics, and see if you can’t find a little boost in them. I have also highlighted my favorite lyrics for each song, and translated these where the song is in Spanish. This way you might still be able to extract a little lyrical joy even if you don’t speak the language.

Don’t pay attention to the cheesy videos, commercial set-backs, and other painful consequences of linking to videos. Plus, don’t worry about whether the song is about love, life, or dancing – the lyrics can be applied to anything and given any meaning you want. At least that’s how I do it.

Enjoy, and let me know if I’ve helped you find a new favorite pick-me up, power song, or if there is one I should definitely add to my list. Get ready for some corn (corny) action. Remember, it’s one of the 14 roads to HAPPY. And, if you happened to like the list, here it is for your listening pleasure on Spotify (except for #5 which is not cooperating! ).

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

1. Beyoncé – I Was Here                                                                          

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                                I want to say I lived each day until I die, and know that I meant something in somebody’s life.                                                                                                                              The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave that I made a difference, and this world will see I was here.

2. Celia Cruz – Yo Viviré (I Will Survive)                                    

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                            En esta vida lo que estoy haciendo.                                                                      Sobreviviendo.                                                                                                                            Estoy sobreviviendo, estoy sobreviviendo.                                                      Sobreviviendo.                                                                                                                               Para que la gente me siga oyendo.                                                                                  Rompiendo barreras, voy sobreviviendo.                                                               Cruzando fronteras, voy sobreviviendo.                                                                               Yo viviré y sobreviviré.

Translation:                                                                                                    In this life what I’m doing.                                                                                                             Surviving.                                                                                                                                           I’m surviving, I’m surviving.                                                                                                   Surviving.                                                                                                                                                   So that the people can continue to hear me.                                                                    Breaking barriers, I go surviving.                                                                                       Crossing frontiers, I go surviving.                                                                                                I will live, and I will survive.

3. Fun – Carry On                                                                             

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                            We are shining stars.                                                                                                                       We are invincible.                                                                                                                           We are who we are.                                                                                                                           On our darkest day when we’re miles away, the sun will come out.                                We will find our way home.                                                                                                            If you’re lost and alone, or you’re sinking like a stone, carry on.                              May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.                                       Carry on.

4. Eminem – Lose Yourself                                                                

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?

5. Willy Chirino – Pa’lante (Forward)                                              

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                          Basta con los que siembran el odio.                                                                                     Basta de los que empujan pa’ tras.                                                                                           Hay tanta gente buena en el mundo que bastaría un segundo para borrar todo el mal.

Translation:                                                                                                  Enough with those who sow hatred.                                                                                      Enough of those who push backwards.                                                                               There are so many good people in the world that would it would only take a second to clear all evil.

6. Willy Chirino – Lo Que Esta Pa’ Ti (What is Meant for You)

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Hay veces que una tormenta se cuela en tu corazón.                                                          Se te sube a la cabeza con a fuerza de un ciclón.                                                             Pero hay que seguir pa’lante buscando una solución.                                                Hacer de la pena un baile y alegre cantar un son.

Translation:                                                                                              There are times when a storm sneaks into your heart.                                                      It rises to your head with the force of a cyclone.                                                              But you have to keep moving forward searching for a solution.                            Making a dance out of the pain and happily sing a song.

7. Lady Gaga – Born This Way                                                                 

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                         Don’t hide yourself in regret.                                                                                                     Just love yourself, and you’re set.                                                                                           I’m on the right track, baby.                                                                                                             I was born this way.

8. Qué Bonita Es Esta Vida – Jorge Celedón                                          

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                            Ay, qué bonita es esta vida y aunque no sea para siempre, si la vivo con mi gente, es bonita hasta la muerte, con canciones y tequila.

Translation:                                                                                                  Oh, how beautiful this life is, and even if it’s not forever, if I live it with my people, it is nice until death, with songs and tequila.

9. Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child                             

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                               Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child.                                                                                  See heaven’s got a plan for you.                                                                                             Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now.

10. Jo Dee Messina – I’m Alright                                                         

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                         Been singin’ for my rent and singin’ for my supper.                                                         I’m above the below and below the upper.                                                                               I’m stuck in the middle where money gets tight, but I guess I’m doin’ alright.         I’m all, I’m all, I’m alright.                                                                                                             It’s a beautiful day. Not a cloud in sight, so I guess I’m doin’ alright

11. Seal – Crazy                                                                                       

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                         Miracles will happen as we trip, but we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy.

12. Sara Evans – A Little Bit Stronger                                           

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

13. Jay Z – History                                                                                   

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Ain’t in it for the fame. That dies within weeks.                                                             Ain’t in it for the money. Can’t take it when you leave.                                                       I wanna be remembered long after you breathe.                                                           Long after I’m gone, long after I breathe.

14. Rihanna – We Found Love in a Hopeless Place                              

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           We found love in a hopeless place. (You already knew that, didn’t you?)

15. Wilson Phillips – Hold On                                                                

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                          You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?                                             You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness.                                                        You got yourself into your own mess.                                                                              Lettin’ your worries pass you by.                                                                                                Don’t you think it’s worth the time to change your mind?

16. Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now                                        

Favorite Lyrics                                                                                                 I can see clearly now. The rain is gone.                                                                                       I can see all obstacles in my way.                                                                                          Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.                                                                      It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.

17. Shakira – Waka Waka (Esto es Africa) – This is Africa       

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                           Hay que empezar de cero para tocar el cielo.

Translation:                                                                                                   You have to start at zero to touch the sky.

18. Darryl Worley – Awful, Beautiful Life                                    

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                                I love this crazy, tragic, sometimes almost magic, awful, beautiful life.

19. Nicki Minaj – Fly                                                                                      

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                               I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive. I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise.

‘Cause I am not a word. I am not a line. I am not a girl that can ever be defined.

20. Sugarland – Settlin’                                                                    

Favorite Lyrics:                                                                                                I ain’t settling for just getting by.                                                                                                 I’ve had enough so so for the rest of my life.                                                                      Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high.                                                              Just enough ain’t enough this time.                                                                                               I ain’t settling for anything less than everything.

Championing the Lost Art of Kindness

I’ve always been a huge believer in and champion of KINDNESS. I wholeheartedly believe you can get so much more done when you are kind to people, and when you consider the humanity in any situation, whether it’s business, personal or fun.  Negativity and a mean spirit, on the other hand, seems to me like the easiest and fastest way to kill productivity, motivation, creativity, imagination, and slowly but surely, your soul.

When I observe people being negative towards each other in order to make a point, or accomplish a goal, and trying to get results through fear and intimidation, it quite literally sickens me. We all have our moments, but if we just took the initiative to be kind whenever possible, and leave negativity as an absolute last resort, we’d be much further along.

Although my life hasn’t been easy, well whose has really, I know that I have opened many doors for myself and maintained those doors open, through kindness. I pride myself on being a person people know they can work with fruitfully; talk to about anything without fear of negative or nasty feedback, and who always remains flexible. I’ve also always respected and cherished people who function in the same fashion. Any other way just doesn’t make sense to me. It never has, and it never will.

For me, I know exactly where this need for nice comes from, too. It comes from growing up in an environment of emotional abuse, of managing expectations through fear and of rampant disrespect. It was an environment of little positive results, and it is the reason I strive to be kind towards anyone who will cooperate. It is the reason I would be utterly ashamed to have anyone think of me as anything less than pleasant. Plus, it just makes it easier to get things accomplished, feel good about who I am, and often feel those good vibrations – yes, I went there.

When you are kind, people extend themselves out to you. People support you, and even begin to champion kindness themselves, causing a rippling effect on others. People are sometimes shocked by it, and I hear a lot of, “Wow, you’re so nice,” but they always welcome it. It is sad to think people will often find it strange when you are kind. It’s because we need more of it.

And, all those times in my life I’ve heard I should stop being so nice, because people will take advantage of me, and trust me, they have plenty of times, I get frustrated with myself for a second. But then I come to and I realize that I refuse to allow others to convince me into being something that I do no respect, something I never want to be. So what if being too nice gets me hurt? At the end of the day, I can look in a mirror, and like and respect myself. I can be proud that I will never make someone feel the rejection and pain I was made to feel growing up.

It really isn’t that hard folks. There are so many opportunities to be kind in small, but meaningful ways throughout your day. Smile at a stranger, let someone pass you in traffic, give a dollar to someone on the street who needs it more than you do (it can happen to anyone), give a compliment, offer to help when no one has asked you to.

The fact is that negativity breeds negativity and hatred. Life is already so incredibly complex. Why make it even more difficult with unnecessary cruelty? As I always say, be nice, it’s good for the soul. 🙂

So how will you take steps to practice and protect the lost art of kindness this week? I challenge you to find just one way to champion kind by Friday, and share it with me. I have every confidence that you can!

And if you need a little inspiration for kind, check these out:  

Sonia, Word Share Junkie