The Cup of Kindness – Part Two



Part two in a two-part series inspired by the classic New Year’s song, Auld Lang Syne. Find the first post here.

“And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” ~ Robert Burns

In Part One, we talked about drinking deeply from the “cup of kindness”—a stockpile of all the positive, supportive, or thankful things people said to us last year—in order to fortify our confidence for the months ahead.

Now, before the year gets too far along, let’s start keeping track of all the new encouragement that comes to us, so we can always have it at our fingertips. I know from personal experience that even if I take the time to save the nice things people say, I don’t always go back and read them; so let’s find the good stuff, archive it, and make it easy to read.

…After we clear something up.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ?

“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking, “if I collect praise about me, doesn’t that make me conceited?”

Chances are, you received gifts last year—on your birthday, over the holidays, or just because. And, for the most part, you probably enjoyed them.

When someone gives you compliments, thanks, or praise, they do it because they want you to hear it. They’re giving you a gift with their words. Unless you return it or give it away (“Oh, I can’t take the praise for the Spielberg account, Bob was the one who handled that”), then you either make it a part of your life, or stuff it in a closet. Only one of those is how the gift was intended.

We honor the giver when we delight in the gift.

Pick the daisies fine

As you compile your cup o’ kindness this year, some sources will be easy to see: E-mail, cards, notes, Twitter @s, instant messages, a handshake and spoken word of thanks. But don’t forget to watch for the subtle gifts—like a hurried “Dinner was great” remark, as a teenager ducks out the door; the “XO” on the shopping list from your sweetie; or the new client who says, “So-and-so recommended you.”

Every little bit matters. Because it shows you mattered to someone.

And give us a hand…

Okay, so now that you’ve started a collection of kindness, how do you manage it so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?

You may relate to different methods, but here are a few of mine to get you started:

* Journal: Start your year off right with a large, blank journal or sketchbook that has acid-free pages (so the paper won’t yellow over time). Write about the encouragement you receive; tape notes and cards onto the pages; print out e-mails and glue them in. Pluses: You create a tangible, beautiful memento that can be enjoyed for generations. Minuses: Time-consuming, which makes it difficult to keep up with archiving feedback.

* Google Documents: I use GDocs for most of my writing, so I started keeping track of feedback there, too. Pluses: Web-based, folder organization, benefit of Google search, intuitive Word-style interface & hotkeys. Minuses: Pasted images only last as long as they’re hosted on original sites. Inaccessible without internet connection.

* Word processor: Store files on your computer or a portable flash drive. Pluses: Folder organization. Images remain even if source page is deleted. Minuses: No internet access. Time-consuming to transcribe/save items.

* Tumbleblog: If you’re a businessperson, why not track feedback where all the world can see it?…As long as the praise is public (such as a Twitter @) or you get permission from the giver, that is. You can make a specialized Tumblr account; for example, as a writer, I started one to keep track of the good things people have to say about our upcoming novel series. Pluses: Web-based, post from e-mail & phone, privacy settings. Minuses: No offline access.

I’m going to dedicate the rest of this section to, because I have a feeling this is the most useful tool of all for me. With Evernote, you can:

* Highlight and clip text and photos from web pages
* Send e-mails, text messages, and Twitter posts to your archive
* Snap photos with a phone on the fly and send them to Evernote via text
* Write new notes
* Upload photos from your computer
* Tag, track, and organize your saved items.
* Search for notes and photos by keyword or Evernote’s text recognition feature (yes, it even recognizes handwriting)
* Use Evernote via online access or desktop/offline access.

Unless you opt for a paid upgrade, Evernote provides these services for free. (Don’t forget, when using your phone, your carrier’s regular text charges apply.)

Whatever method you choose, consider adding encouragement from one other person: yourself.

* Save quotes, verses, writing, or pictures you find inspiring.
* Write notes about what you achieved every day. Whether you landed a million-dollar account at work, or a won a priceless smile from a child, you did good today. Write it down, and read it often.

Bring to mind the inspiration from your “days gone by,” and it will motivate you to make tomorrow even better.


Take it a step further…
Don’t forget the Golden Rule! Give the praise and recognition you desire to others. Tell Bob he did a great job on the Spielberg account. Add a love note to your sweetie’s to-do list. And why not tell your parents they made some pretty awesome dinners back in “auld lang syne”? It’s never too late! ~Christine


Photo above, “Monsoon in a Mug,” by elvispayne / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


© 2010 mousewords

5 Responses to “The Cup of Kindness – Part Two”

  1. What delightful writing! And your message is RIGHT ON……WRITE ON !!!

  2. Thank you! :-)

  3. I enjoy your refreshing take on life. Thank you for inspiring us to find pleasure in something so simple as a word of kindness, or in the exploration of a thing well-done.

    This blog is a moment of rest in the midst of my daily routine. :-)

  4. Your fusion of a classic tune with the methods of present day communications is indicative of your wonderful and eclectic creative mind – very inspiring! It reminds us all that a display of gratitude still goes a long way. I agree with you, “It’s never too late” to let someone know how much they positively impacted your day or life.

    I like your idea of maintaining a journal whether a kitchen drawer stuffed with notes or on a well organized electronic media gizmo or somewhere in the middle…the intent is to not only enjoy those notes/pics again and again, but also have an opportunity to demonstrate gratitude by contacting someone out of the blue and saying, “Thank you, for that moment when you made me feel good or thought about my Birthday or left me a sweet love note on a mirror”.

    Thank you, Mousewords for sharing. -LAA

  5. @Mary, that makes my day. :-)

    @Luis, I *love* your idea to contact people and tell them how their words made a difference! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and positive attitude, here and on Twitter. :-)

Your comments are welcome