You park your car and begin walking towards the store, when you notice the faint sound of a ringing bell in the distance getting louder and louder with each step. This could only mean one thing, and you immediately begin to formulate a plan…your internal voices start bantering back and forth, and here’s where things get awkward.
These thoughts begin with a reality check… an assessment of the situation at hand is formulated.
“I don’t have any cash, only credit cards”
“My budget is so tight right now and I don’t have any spare change to give”
“I just gave to my favorite cause and I’m feeling anxious right now and not giving at this moment will make me look like a jerk”
Then your thoughts quicken and begin to formulate negative self-assessments such as…
“Really _____________ (insert your name here), you never have any cash”
“You really should make a donation, you have so much to be grateful for and are better off then so many”
This immediately turns into resentment as you enter the dreaded self-protection “fight” mode
“ugh, another opportunity for someone to be hitting me up for money, I wish I could just say, sorry I have two kids and college and I should be ringing my own bell seeking donations”
“Why do I have to be subject to solicitation at every store, this makes me angry, I’m just trying to get some groceries, is that too much to ask?”
Then, before you know it, you have ascended upon the smiling person holding the bell next to the Big Red Kettle and survival “flight” mode kicks in
“Divert your eyes, and it won’t seem so awkward as you hurry by”
“Quick find another person to walk in with”
Phew, it over, and you now find yourself in the dairy isle and then it hits you….soon your cart will be filled with plentiful groceries and you will find yourself once again face to face with the generosity gremlin as you exit the store. It’s at this moment you choose to give. Along with your donation you drop your gremlin into the bucket. My cart and my heart are now full.
So here’s the thing about this process. You get to choose self-compassion. Generosity of spirit is where awkwardness turns into conviction. Here are some self-compassion reminders when confronted with awkward solicitations
1. Be mindful of your thoughts
Try to think a positive thought every time you have the impulse to think a negative one
The act of paying attention, on purpose, moment by moment without judgement
2. Recognize your gremlins
Gremlin definition: A deeply imbedded thought or fear that keeps you from moving forward. To silence this gremlin you need to recognize what thoughts and fears are present.
3. Cultivate Kindness “Keep it kind”
Smile, make eye contact and create positive facial feedback, acting “as if” you are, happy, cheerful, carefree, you will cultivate a feeling of__________ (fill in the blank)
4. When you live and you learn, you find a lot about yourself along the way
5. Keep calm and carry on, walk the talk and integrate your values with your actions
6. Keep away from comparisons, comparisons lead to feelings of unworthiness, guilt, and shame
7. Formulate a future plan, understand, live with, and respect boundaries especially your own, allow yourself to recognize them.
8. Be honest and cultivate unconditional love and accept not only others, but yourself
9. Let every bell your hear become a symbol for self-compassion use the symbol of a bell ringing to check into how you’re doing on the self-compassion intention
10. Live a life of truth and curiosity, realize that anything you have been through or are going through or have felt, others have been through it too, we are all connected searching for self-love, truth, and connection.