Sharing food with coworkers is a wonderful gesture. Instead of the usual bagels or doughnuts, why not bring a plate of fresh, delicious fruit next time? Grapes, strawberries, melon, and pineapple are popular favorites that can help you show your appreciation while encouraging healthy eating at the same time.
Archive for People
Maybe it was a teacher, a friend, or a neighbor. If there’s someone who has always been there when you needed support, or helped you through a particularly difficult time, write a personal thank you letter in appreciation of his or her kindness.
For most of us, it’s easy to show kindness and feel compassion for the people we like. It can be much more difficult to do so for people we see as different from us, or for people we do not like. A good first step toward fostering compassion for those who are not like you is to learn more about them, and focus on your similarities rather than your differences. We are all just people trying to find our way in this world.
Being compassionate toward people who are negative, rude, or otherwise difficult is even trickier. Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha has some great tips in her article, 10 Ways to Deal with Negative or Difficult People.
Do you struggle with showing kindness to those you disagree with or don’t like?
The next time you have an enjoyable experience at a restaurant, be kind and leave a generous tip (15%-20% is standard). Most food servers work exceptionally hard for minimal income and no benefits. In Wisconsin, where I live, minimum wage for tipped workers is only $2.33 per hour. Additionally, some restaurants require servers to share tips with other employees such as hosts and bussers, reducing their take-home pay even further. An extra dollar or two may be just what that server needs to make ends meet.
Have you ever worked in food service? What was your experience with tips?
When you get a party invitation in the mail, by email, or on Facebook, be kind and let the host know whether or not you can make it. R.S.V.P. stands for Répondez S’il Vous Plâit, which is French for “Please respond.” It doesn’t mean reply if you feel like it, and it doesn’t mean wait until the last minute to see if something better comes along. Hosting a party is a lot of work, and planning how much food and how many beverages to buy requires knowing how many guests are attending. I’ve even heard stories of people not responding to wedding invitations and then showing up unannounced. Please, don’t do this. Act with compassion and respond to invitations in a timely manner. If your plans change, let the host know as soon as possible.
If you plan on sending your mom flowers for Mother’s Day, consider this: About 80 percent of cut flowers sold in the United States are grown in Latin America, South America, and Africa. Workers are often exploited to keep costs low for American and European customers. Most flower workers are women (and probably mothers themselves), who routinely face sexual harassment, exposure to dangerous pesticides, and work long hours for very little pay. Child labor is also a problem, especially in Ecuador, where an estimated 20 percent of the flower workers are minors. Read more at laborrights.org.
A socially conscious alternative: Skip the flowers or buy organic, fair trade-certified flowers from sources like oneworldflowers.org.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” — Plato
This is one of my favorite compassion quotes, because it’s a reminder that just like me, everyone else is struggling to find his or her path to happiness. You never truly know what others are going through, or where they’ve been. Your kindness may be exactly what someone needs to keep going.
Today, take some time to tell the people in your life how much you appreciate what they do. I don’t know about you, but hearing I’m appreciated goes a long way to refueling my “positivity” tanks.
Two, four, six, eight, who do you appreciate?
Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. It is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. Through websites like Kiva, you can loan as little as $25 to help fund a microloan for someone in need. When the loan is repaid, you get repaid. Watch the video for an explanation of how Kiva works.
Have you ever made a loan through a microfinance site like Kiva? What was your experience?
“What is fair trade, when you boil it down, other than basic human politeness?” — Political humorist John Oliver
The rest of Oliver’s bit is, shall we say, a bit more off-color, but it’s a good reminder of our place in the economic “web of life,” and the fact that our purchases have a real influence on what happens elsewhere in the world.
Everyone’s situation is different, and it may be difficult to find fair trade options for every purchase, but seeking out fair trade products from time to time is something we can all strive to do. If you don’t know where to start, Global Exchange keeps a list of which corporations it feels are the worst human rights violators.
When is the last time you bought a fair trade item?