Are you feeling the weight of the world this year? Struggling with sadness, frustration, and feeling helpless? So many of us are. But it's during these difficult, crummy times that the kindness of others brings me back. Here's how the small things make such a big difference — even years down the road.
People are on edge, and it's not hard to see why. It's just difficult to be a human right now with everything that's happening in the world. The economy is tough. Relationships are strained. Being stuck inside is hard. Finances are hard. The job market's hard. The home market is hard.
Even being online is hard right now. But truly, as tough as the world is right now, I love what I do. I love connecting with people all around the world. I love having a platform to share what feels important to me.
Watch my heart to heart video online HERE, or click and watch below:
The world needs more positivity, and at least two stories come to mind that I need to share with you. And they're so random. But first, a question:
Do you ever meet people in your life who, for just a brief moment, make an impression on you with their kindness and caring? Do they leave you better than they found you?
When our friends or neighbors return from a road trip or vacation, we usually try to prep dinner for them so they have a good meal to eat when they get home. The vacation hangover is real and making an extra meal is an easy way to lend a helping hand. – Jenny
CLASS ACT AT THE THEATRE
I love live theatre. In fact, I'm a total music nerd. Once we were at a play, and I was in the bathroom washing my hands. There was this cute older lady washing her hands next to me. When she was done, she took out some paper towels and started wiping off the counter.
I couldn't help but watch what she was doing. She noticed me glancing at her out of the corner of my eye. Then she looked at me in the mirror and she said, “You've always gotta leave it better than you found it.” And she walked out.
To this day, I always wipe the bathroom counter in any public bathroom.
That one comment, “Leave it better than you found it.” It's resonated with me so much.
I always return the shopping carts, and I usually pick up trash whenever I see something. – Meggan
HIGH SCHOOL FLU-SICAL
Another story: In high school, I went to a community dance. There were a ton of people I didn't know, which made it fun. I was having a great time, and they even had free sodas at the dance. I drank a soda, and I don't know what happened, but it hit me horribly, and I became sick. I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I was literally on my knees over a toilet by myself in a public bathroom.
Worse yet, I was so embarrassed because it looked like I was probably drunk with a hangover throwing up in the bathroom. I was hoping no one would come in and see me.
And then I heard the footsteps. The door was left partially open to the stall because I was too sick to close it. This girl appeared in the stall and saw me throwing up. She bent down and started rubbing my back and holding my hair. I have no clue who she was. We had never met before.
She said to me, “Are you okay? Do you need some water?” She did not judge. She didn't even care why I was there. All she knew was that at that moment, I needed help. And then when I was okay, she left. And I've never seen her again.
In the past two years, we’ve given away two cars. When it was time to upgrade our vehicles, we didn’t trade in our older ones, we gave them away to families who needed reliable transportation. – Jenny
WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS
I felt moved to talk about those two incredible experiences because I want to leave you with two thoughts that I hope will make a difference:
- Will you just leave it better than you found it? Whatever “it” is. Is “it” your job? Your friendships? Social media? What do you touch in a day? Wherever you go, as did the woman in the theatre, will you please try to leave it better than you found it? Things are going to get harder before they get better.
- Will you please focus as much as you can on love? At that moment in high school, that kind girl didn't judge me. She put me first. So what can we do to put others first in our families, in our neighborhoods? What if, instead of walking by someone, we were to help them? What if you said, “I don't care about your story. I'm just here because we're both humans and I love you for that.”
Because life has been rough for so many, I'm going to spend the rest of the year to leave it better than I found it.
When I eat out, I always tidy up the table before I leave, so it's quick and easy for whoever is bussing it. – Erica
HOW YOU INSPIRE ME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Our community is so engaged, so supportive, so positive, so encouraging to me and each other…it’s incredible. It really is like nothing else on the web.
Paying for the person behind us in line, whether it’s drinks, fast food, etc, has become a thing. It’s fun knowing that we were able to remove that burden or obligation even if they didn’t need it. Just adding some happiness to someone’s day is fun and also creates happiness in our day as a result! – Jen
OUR MILLION DOLLAR DEBT CHALLENGE
You – Y O U! – have paid off $100 million of debt in the last 11 months, during an economic crisis and global pandemic. (Yes! We hit our goal ALREADY!) Whether you put one dollar toward your debt or one thousand dollars, our community members from all over the world chipped away at debt together.
OUR SECRET SANTA CHRISTMAS SERVICE PROJECT
YOU have already raised over $83,000 for families in need this Christmas. (Which is what we did last year! Let’s keep the donations coming! Everyone who sees this, please donate $1! Read for the details on our Secret Santa Project!)
THE #GIVETHANKS PROJECT
YOU have been joining me in flooding the Internet with positivity and gratitude, during one of the most hostile times our world has ever seen, with the 7-day #GiveThanks challenge.
OUR FREEB COMMUNITY
And YOU continue to show up, day after day, on this little obscure corner of the Internet that we call home…leaving the sweetest comments, funniest commentary, you pray for others, you give your opinions when they are needed most, you share your creative and clever ideas, and double-tap likes, that — amidst such a crappy time to be on the web — keeps me and my team going.
So… today, and every day, I’m thankful for you. The paycheck keeps our company (and my incredibly hard-working team) operating…but I’m really not doing this to build a business.
At the end of the day, we are doing this to change lives… So thank you for sharing yours with us. Thank you for making a difference. I really do love you so much!