My dear childhood buddy Rekha has written about her experience during Week 1 of Joy of Giving. I reproduce it here-
“What you say or think about others, good or bad is a mirror of yourself.” When I first heard this, it was like a knock on the head – the kind that leaves you unconscious. And when I woke up, I realised what being negative, even in the smallest way could do to you!
This was some time ago and since then; I have been trying to make a conscious effort to always look at the ‘brighter’ side of things. I also understood that when you carry the baggage of the past, it's easy to fall into the 'negative' mode, be cynical and unforgiving. But these, I understood were just 'passing clouds' and my problems were really miniscule compared to what others around me were going through. And that, I was really blessed!
I started off with huge smiles (even at the risk of looking funny!) smiling at grumpy people in the lift and surprising them with a ‘Hello’ and ‘Have a nice day’. If someone had a bad word to say, I’d mostly turn back and say, “God bless you!” I believe that there’s nothing Love can’t do – give it, and give it in abundance – you not only bring happiness to others but it also makes you a better person. I shut off negative conversations by delving deep into my spiritual side, reading or listing to bhajans. And yes, I could see a change, however small it was.
When Ritu came up with this exercise last week, I was worried whether I would be able to follow it to a ‘T’. And then, I told myself that I’d go along with the flow and this was not to be another task on my ‘must-do’ list. At office, where most of the cribbing happens, my colleague and I kept each other in check whenever there was a danger of slipping. I also blocked my mind off a whole lot of negative things and stayed away from negative influences. I had nothing to contribute to a negative conversation because I had successfully blocked myself out.
At home, I refrained from shouting at Amrit (a hard task with exams going on) for different things. My voice slipped in decibel levels and I felt good about that. But I can’t say that all seven days have been perfect. I did send some ‘angry but concerned’ e-mails to a friend (though the anger was directed at myself) but in the end I sorted that out with some practical conversations with myself.
This is not just a one-week exercise… It is a continuing one... Though I believe the focus has made me a calmer person. And also, throughout the week, God has sent me many signs that He is there for me, in the many people I meet. When happiness comes in so many forms, what’s left is to just count your blessings… and be positive.