Make it Count: How Being Nicer Makes a Huge Difference

Last week was rough. I just had a string of bad luck that ended in scratching the heck (excuse my French) out of my brand new, leased car’s bumper as well as that of a Mr. Joe’s, and fraud on my debit card (for like the fifth time this year! Get it together Bank of America!).

Anyways, already having had a stressful week where I swear it started to feel like the universe was trying to push me down to the ground, I got home from work on Thursday night excited to head to Starbucks and work on my motivational eBook series (writing makes me feel alive). I parked my car, and noticing it was a tight spot, decided to move it elsewhere so I wouldn’t get hit later on. I had no idea I was on top of car in front of me, and scraaaaaaaaaaaatch I went. Once re-parked, I got out and there it was – huge scratches all along the right side of my bumper. I guess this Florida girl is still having a little trouble with this parallel parking deal!

Now as you might recall from my post From STRESS to STRENGTH in 24 hours, this car is a stressor in and of itself because I had to lease it after my beloved 2006 Jetta went caput on me a few months ago. And now, I had defaced (OK, maybe defaced is a little exaggerated) the poor thing that I do not even own.  I was flustered and feeling defeated, and could not seem to spot the car I had hit, so I decided to just go to Starbucks to write and deal with it later.

When I returned home that night, I decided to peek around the street and see if I could more calmly point out the car. I remembered it was blue, and walked up and down the street until I thought I spotted it. I looked at the back, and there it was – a huge scratch on the back bumper of what also seemed to be a new car.

I was scared, but I went up to my apartment, dug out my little crate of random stationary cards and stickers (yes, I am that girl), and wrote this note, complete with sticker bouquet, and walked outside to place it on the car’s windshield.

Being Nicer Makes a Huge Difference

I imagined I’d get a very angry phone call, but I would want it done for me, so I did it anyway. I went to bed with a heavy mind, stressing about money more so than I do on any usual night (and that’s a lot). Two days passed, and there was no phone call. I thought maybe they had just let it go. Then yesterday I received a very nice voicemail from a Mr. Joe. He was incredibly appreciative of the card, thanked me for my honesty and asked that I please return his call to work it out.

When I called him back he was so understanding and said that card (because it wasn’t even just a piece of paper) was enough to make his day. I apologized again, and we decided on a plan of action.

So in light of hateful things like the recent outpouring of hate about an Indian-American Miss America, I urge you to be NICE, honest and collaborative. Because no matter what anyone says, I wholeheartedly believe being nicer makes a huge difference, and it really has done so in my life. If we could all just work to show each other a little more respect, love and kindness each day, imagine how much better off we could be. Take the time to connect with others. Put a little extra effort into your communication with folks. And don’t underestimate the power of a little stationary and sticker action – being just a little nicer and more creative about our interactions goes a long way my friends!

Sure I will have to spend money on fixing this gentleman’s car and that will undoubtedly stress me out, but I can sleep at night knowing I did the right thing, and we will get it done in a positive manner instead of through arguments and blame. Look at that. Just by being nicer, I was able to minimize his stress and my own.

Also, I realize I am lucky to even have a new car or a bank account to stress about. That is also something to keep in mind. When you’re having a bad time, take a minute to really put your problems in perspective. It really helps me simmer down, and I believe it can do the same for you.

And as I always like to say, let’s work together, not against each other. Just a little food for Monday thought.

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