One day, out of the blue, an unanswerable question popped into my head. If we could put all of the disposable straws and straw wrappers used throughout the world in a single day into one big pile, how big would it be? I’m not talking cups or plates or utensils – just straws. Several sites I checked claim the U.S. alone uses 500 million straws a day – with a population of 333 million, I find that statistic questionable, but cut it by half and then add the rest of the world, and we’re talking a MOUNTAIN of straws.
That – and seeing a wall of used plastic bags during a friend’s presentation about reducing our reliance on single-use bags at Toastmasters sometime in 2003 or 2004 – led me on a path to care a lot about sustainability. To be sure, my efforts are minimal, compared to what needs doing to be sure our planet is hospitable for the rest of my son’s life, and his children’s and grandchildren’s after him. But I make those efforts every day. I finally got my husband in the habit of grabbing a canvas grocery bag every time he heads out to the store. We recycle everything that’s recyclable. I shop thrift stores regularly less to save money than because there’s a good chance the trash can or dog leash I need are waiting there for me, which means I don’t need to create demand for brand new ones.
So I took my reusable canvas bag to a store recently, and the clerk sneered when he saw it: “Hah – you think your using that is gonna make a bit of difference? It won’t. Why even bother?”
Was he right? Well, yes. By itself, my saving one or two plastic bags from going out into the world isn’t going to make a difference – it’s going to take a global effort. That’s not the point. Was he kind? No, he wasn’t. If I were as sensitive as some people I know, his comment could certainly have ruined my shopping experience, maybe even ruined my day. So why did he do it? I may never see that guy again, but my sense of him the way he said it was that he took pleasure in trying to make me feel uncomfortable.
What kind of person does that? Someone who’s not leaning to the full side of the tank when it comes to positivity, to be sure.
Interestingly, there is an inexplicable link between kindness and positivity – and it works in both directions. The kinder people are, the more positive they tend to be. And the more positive they are, the kinder they are, in general. An article on Happify.com notes that “A happy person is a helpful person. When you’re in a positive emotional state, you’re better able to help others in need—family, friends, and even strangers—and better able to make a difference in the world.”
Though the research is vague (to me), another article from Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine details a study showing that doing kind things for others generally increased participants’ level of happiness.
This isn’t meant to shame anyone who tends toward the negative side. It’s simply to shine some light on the link between kindness and positivity. If you can relate to the clerk at the beginning of this post and think you might want to try a little kindness instead, you can start today. Begin by finding someone to thank – authentically – and do it. Let someone know they brightened your day. Offer a kind word to a person others might not even notice. Simply holding the door open for someone or offering to carry a bag of groceries can be all it takes to make them – and you – smile.
Secondly, try to surround yourself with more positive people. There’s a truism that says we are the composite of the five people with whom we spend the most time. Maybe it’s time to take an inventory of your inner circle.
If you really want to make strides toward bringing more authentic positivity into your life, sign up today for the 30-Day Positivity Challenge. This complimentary 30-day series of exercises gives participants a variety of assignments conducive to feeling better, overall. According to inspirational speaker Abraham Hicks, “Few realize that they can control the way they feel and positively affect the things that come into their life experience by deliberately directing their thoughts.” Abraham Hicks says we accomplish this by simply “reach[ing] for a better feeling thought.”
The decision is yours: Will you choose positivity?
JOIN THE 30-DAY POSITIVITY CHALLENGE TODAY!
Laura Orsini is an author, speaker, consultant, publisher, and creator of Fairy Positive, an antidote to the worries of the world. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
One thought on “Don’t Be Like the Douschy Clerk”
so very true that kindness and positivity lead to more of each other.. and definitely trying to be as green and sustainable as we can in our daily lives too