A seed of doubt is an easily understood analogy.
Someone, whether they understand the consequences of their words or not, says something. It falls into your mind, just a drop in the midst of thousands of messages you receive during a given day. But then the words come back to you. And again. And again, and again, and again.
They pop into your head at random moments—when you are falling asleep, or brushing your teeth, or when the person in the coffee shop smiles at you.
Before you realize, that seed has taken root. It was so small, you’re not sure how it suddenly became a living, breathing thing in your head.
If you let it, that small plant can grow into a vine, spread across your mind and choke out all signs of optimism.
In the same way, something very small can put a smile on your face, if only for a moment. When someone says something to you that you want desperately to hear but never really believe, it can lift you up on a mediocre day.
Last night, I swung by the grocery store for a couple specific items: milk, cereal, pasta… you get the idea. I had a headache, and all I wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible and go swallow a couple Advil.
And then, the girl at the check out counter said, “You are really pretty.” She smiled and then laughed when I told her thanks, that’ve very sweet and that I don’t tend to believe that about myself. “Oh, not in a creepy way,” she said quickly, obviously realizing that wasn’t the small talk I expected, “but you are.” And then we had a nice chat about self perception and what people do or do not see in themselves versus what others see in them.
And although I told her the truth–oh, that’s nice, but I think you’re full of it–there are some days, maybe when you haven’t gotten to the gym in a couple days, when you aren’t feeling great, when work wasn’t as productive as you’d like… on those days, it’s nice to hear something like that.
Today’s challenge: plant a seed of confidence, joy or kindness in someone else. Bonus points if it’s a complete stranger. Of course your best friend or mom is going to tell you that you’re smart, beautiful, clever, funny and have good taste in clothes. It’s a much different thing to hear it from someone who has no reason to make your day better. You never know who might just need that boost.