What is stopping you?

by Alisa on August 31, 2011

This might go down as the shortest post I’ve ever written. I’m writing it because it occurred to me that there are several moments a day when I think about doing something nice for someone and then I just don’t do it. Maybe I get distracted. Maybe I tell myself that the person I want to help doesn’t really want my help. Maybe I get busy. Maybe I think that the whole idea is just a waste of time.

But it’s never a waste of time, right? (Or is it? What’s your take?)

I’d like you to think of at least one person–your spouse, a friend, a colleague, a parent, a child, a stranger–who might be in dire need of a happiness transplant. Then do something kind for that person. You might do something huge. You might do something small. Just do something. Don’t stop yourself. Don’t talk yourself out of it.

Do it.

Then leave a comment and tell me how it went.

Three people who comment will receive free copies of Project: Happily Ever After. I will choose the winning comments randomly. You have til midnight EST Friday. Go forth and be the happiness in someone else’s day. 

Note: Lillian won the August Reader of the Month. Congrats to you Lillian!

A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

GoodHusbanding August 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm

There are times when I want to do something affectionate with my husband (like rub his back or kiss his arm), but don’t – either because he’s distracted, or because it’s not an ideal time. I usually tell him that I thought about doing it.. and didn’t… but I thought about it! He usually smiles and gives me a raincheck.

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sabrina August 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I did this yesterday, but I returned shoes yesterday with an online club and I was trying to figure out what to get next and during that time, I found out a good friend of mine (single mom with 3 year old twin boys) finally got a job and I was so happy for her, instead of getting shoes for me, i got shoes for her for work since she has to get an entirely new wardrobe. She was SO happy and grateful and I was so happy to do that for her.

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David Justin Bibby September 3, 2011 at 10:16 am

Sabrina,
Congratulations to your friend for finding a job… I’m sure your gift to her really made her feel great. More importantly it made you feel good to didn’t it?

These random acts of kindness really make giving worth while.

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Sarah Liz August 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I needed this today. Feeling a bit down for various reasons, determined not to drown in it. I do need to “go forth and be the happiness in someone else’s day.” Thank you so much, Alisa!

Many Blessings,
-Sarah Liz :)

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Niloo August 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for this Alisa. I really needed it today. The best way to get happiness is to give it. I am going to go do some giving right now!!

You are the best!
Niloo

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Bella August 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I had bunch of books the kids had outgrown, thought about selling them for a few bucks since they’re in excellent, almost new condition. Then I thought about making someone’s day so I gave all 30+ books away. The appreciation on the mothers’ faces were MY gift and kids learned a beautiful lesson in giving. :-D

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Julie Vogts August 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Funny on the timing! Just this week, I decided to get back into the habit of keeping in touch with girlfriends & sending cards. I used to send them periodically & the past couple years got out of the habit. Two days ago I mailed 6 of my girlfriends homemade cards just saying hello & have a good week. then I also sent one church member a card to have a good week, that lost her husband suddenly about 9 months ago. I did that anomiously. :) I am going to continue to do little things! :) Thanks!

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Angie August 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I’ve got 2 girlfriends in mind for this book! I order them and on the way. Can’t wait to give it to each of them. I’ve already been telling my friend about the book but little does she know I’m giving her one! hehehe!

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Tanya August 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I’ve lost touch with a family friend from childhood who meant alot to me! For some time I’ve been meaning to write her a letter to reconnect and see how she’s going. I knew what was stopping me – it was my own stuff so your post spurred me on to do it. So today I’ve written the letter and sent it on it’s merry way!

Thank you for all that you share in your blog – your words have helped me to be a better partner to my much loved husband!

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Kim August 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm

My father has Parkinson’s disease and I have a difficult time communicating with him. He lives in another state and I have two children under four. Between the effects of the disease causing him to slur his words and my own struggles with hearing in general, we do not talk as much as I would like to. I just finished writing him a letter. He’s past the “computer” age and snail mail at least gives me an opportunity to reach out and let him know I love him, miss him, and think about him. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do now for a while and your post helped me take action. Thank you! It wasn’t a lot of work, but it means a lot to me to reach out and hopefully it will mean a lot to him to know I am thinking of him.

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Susan Rude September 1, 2011 at 5:56 am

The other day as I was sitting in the Drive thru of a local restaurant, I was feeling a little down and I started thinking about how I could change that. When I went to pay for my meal I told the service girl to ring up the order in the car behind me and I would pay for it. I just told her to tell them I paid for it, to have a nice day and to pay it forward when they could.. My blues were instantly gone and I felt good for the rest of the day. I will always remember how good I felt. So pay it forward and make your day.

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Lisa September 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

A friend just found out she’s pregnant with her third. I just had my third child 3 months ago. She’s freaking out about being back in “baby mode” as her other kids are going to be 6 and 4 when her third is born. I captured a video of my baby cooing peacefully last night but almost didn’t send it to her because I was embarrassed by the sound of my own voice. She wrote back immediately that she was so glad I sent it because it helped calm her down and see that there will be more wonderful things to come.

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Randy September 1, 2011 at 8:14 am

Somebody I know is under the gun and running out of time planning a retirement party for her father. She mentioned she was setting up posters to promote the event. I stepped up and offered to design and print the posters for her as I’m a graphic designer and this is easily in my skill set. Otherwise in the past I would have ignored her comment and went on with my day. It felt good to help her out and lighten the load so she can focus on other plans for the event.

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bcc September 1, 2011 at 8:28 am

We are still without power from Hurricane Irene (I know, right?) as is the rest of our neighborhood. We are fortunate that we have a generator and, therefore, hot water for showers. We offered the use of our shower to our neighbors and they gladly accepted. For a second, I thought they might not welcome the idea… I thought that they might feel weirded out using someone else’s shower, but I was wrong. They certainly appreciated it and we were glad to help.

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Drummer Guy September 2, 2011 at 10:11 am

bcc I am in hurricane country (Louisiana) & can tell you from experience that anybody who has been through one would have be absolutely THRILLED at such an offer.

Great going
Ron :-)

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Alisa September 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thank you all for commenting and for doing such wonderful things in the world! The book winners are: Sabrina, Bella and BCC. I’ll be in touch via email about where to send the books. Congrats!

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