Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’ve talked a lot about the blessing of giving to others. That usually means you do something specific for someone or give them something they need. But I’ve been realizing that while that’s important, what we give mentally can have the biggest impact. Normally giving is seen in the physical sense. You donate money, help a friend fix something, give someone a lift, buy a gift, etc. Those are tangible blessings.

But it’s just as big a blessing, if not bigger, to do something that affects another person’s life in an intangible way.

These blessings are more subtle, since you may not know about the impact you had until way later, if at all. You impact people every day, though most of the time you may not think about it. Doing something small but positive can cause a chain reaction you never know about. You may smile at someone, put them in a good mood and then they smile at someone and so on…

It all boils down to trying to be kind and caring and positive when possible. When you live like that, you create those intangible blessings.

Many people need acknowledgement for what they do. If they’re kind to someone who doesn’t show appreciation, that’s the last time they do it. I hear people swear off friendliness when they don’t see it enough in others. If they hold a door and don’t get a “thank you,” why bother in the future?

Because—kindness is not a give and take! It’s a lifestyle, a mindset, your heart speaking.

I don’t mean you have to do favors for everyone. But being kind and friendly and helpful is based on who YOU to choose to be as a person, and should not be contingent on what other people do. It’s who you are, not what you do for reciprocation only. When I was a DoorMat, I got angry when I helped others but no one helped me. I was a people pleaser in order to be liked and also to get friendship and favors in return. But that’s not being nice! The more kindness and caring you give out because that’s who you are, not for something in return, the more impact you can have on others.

John Quincy Adams “The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality.”


Whether you know about your influence or not, when you do something that affects a person’s life, it’s a blessing that can live on and on. Think about things you’ve said or done that may have had an intangible impact. I feel blessed beyond measure every time I hear from a musician who says one of my books taught them enough to develop their career or from someone who feels more empowered from reading one of my books or this blog.


A kind word goes a long way. Good advice shared is a blessing. A smile brightens people’s day.


I recently heard from someone who said she’d just left the job she hated, with no idea of what she’d do but faith that it would be fine. She credits my writing for helping her do that. How can I put that into value? It’s priceless to know you’ve impacted someone else’s life in a positive way, whether in a big or small way. Every time I get a letter from someone who said my books or blog helped them, I know I’ve helped to make someone’s life better and appreciate that profoundly. But even when I don’t hear from anyone, I know that doing my best and being kind attracts more to me!


After doing favors to buy being liked, it’s lovely to be in a place that I know that just being me can brighten someone’s day because I usually have a smile and cheery greeting.


Pay attention to how you might make an impact on others. Would you like to be your own colleague, neighbor, friend, etc? If not, try to add some warmth and smiles to your everyday demeanor. Even if no one says anything, you can’t help but have an impact on some of the people who cross your path. There are people who live in my building that always make me happy when they get into the elevator because I’m greeted with a smile and enthusiastic “good morning,” etc. I don’t tell them how I feel but they impact me.


Those intangible blessings you give to others can make more of a difference than buying someone a gift or doing an overt favor.


As you develop an overall nature of being friendly, kind, and cheerful, KNOW that you have an impact on others. It has to happen, even if they don’t tell you. Years ago I’d stop at the same place for coffee every day. One day I was troubled about something and didn’t have my usual cheerful smile. The guy at the counter immediately asked if I was okay and was there anything he could do for me. I was stunned since I only knew him from ordering coffee. He said he looked forward to seeing me each day and thought of me as a little bit of sunshine. Yet it wasn’t till I had a bad day that I learned about my impact on him. Knowing that lightened my bad mood!


Remember that a friendly kind attitude spreads joy, even if people don’t tell you. And it also attracts some good stuff back.


Being a good person is a blessing, to others and to yourself. Every smile you give can impact on someone. Every door you hold open can help a stranger. Live as a person you’d like to encounter in your own life. When someone brightens your day in a simple way, think about how you can learn from them. As you become a conscientiously friendly, considerate and cheerful person, you’ll also become a better colleague, neighbor, parent and friend.



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