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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kind Words -- Cheering the Grumpy

Here is the most recent email I received from Partners in Kindness. You can subscribe to one of the most wonderful, healing lists I've seen, full of heart and soul! This post speaks for itself.

I hope you'll be inspired to do something kind. It will change your day no matter what else is going on.


Aunt Laya
Photo from thank you Kesh!

KIND WORDS--Cheering The Grumpy
"Gratitude will get you Everywhere"

The author wishes to remain anonymous
Edited by Shmuel Greenbaum
Printed with Permission of

I live in a high rise apartment building in a large city. One of the gentlemen who lives in my building is an angry person. He walks with his head down and never speaks to anyone. He grunts under his breath loud enough to be heard. People are afraid to talk to him.One day, I saw him with his leg in a cast. I asked him what happened. He only grunted an answer. For me, it was an opportunity to change his life a bit.

I purchased a bouquet of flowers and having sworn the doorman to secrecy, had him deliver the bouquet to our unhappy tenant's apartment. I signed the bouquet's card, "We wish you a speedy recovery" and signed it "All your neighbors at (our address)."My formerly grumpy neighbor now smiles at everyone he meets, since he doesn't know which of these people thought him special enough to send the bouquet. As unhappy as he was, he was still grateful for the get well gesture.It is fun for me to see him talking to all his neighbors, welcoming people into the building and being totally social with everyone. Not one of my neighbors understands what made the change, but I know and so does G-d. Now the readers of this e-mail know and I hope each of you helps to make this practice a full fledged "epidemic".

"Cheering The Grumpy"
From Kindness: Making a Difference in People's Lives: Formulas, stories, and insights
By Zelig Pliskin
Printed with Permission of Shaar Press

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if all the grumpy people would be transformed into kind, loving, and cheerful human beings? Those individuals would gain immensely along with all of the potential victims of their negativity. Imagine telling a grumpy person, "Cheer up," or, "Stop being so grumpy." Will this suddenly change them? Will they stop being grumpy and cheer up? If it were that simple, we’d live in a cheerful world. A group of volunteers would go from person to person and change them. It’s obvious that cheering up a grouch is an art and a skill.There is no magic formula that will work in all instances. But the most effective approach is when you have sincere love for other people. When you care deeply about someone and have sincere compassion you are likely to have a positive effect. Even the grumpiness of people can melt when in the presence of the radiant sunshine of a sincerely loving person.Don’t rebuke a grumpy person. It won’t work. Don’t angrily tell him to change. It won’t work. Enter his world. Understand him. Why is he the way he is? What pain in his life caused him to be this way?If you try to cheer up a grumpy person and what you try to do doesn’t work, don’t blame him. Take this as a message that you need a different approach.If you act too friendly and cheerful when interacting with a person who is consistently grumpy, you are likely to annoy him. One approach is to mirror his grumpy state and then change your state in a way that he follows you as you access a better state. Mirror but don’t mimic his facial expression and posture. Mirror his tone of voice, but don’t say anything that will be counterproductive. Then little by little allow yourself to relax and little by little access a slightly cheerful state. If he follows your example, you will put him in a better state.One of my students related this story to me:I once met a cheerful person who seemed to me that he must have grown up with this attribute."You probably were always a happy person," I commented to him.With a big smile, he replied, "I’m afraid not. I was a difficult child. I complained a lot and was frequently miserable. As a young adult I was highly irritable. People usually got on my nerves. One day, however, I met someone who had a major impact on my life. This person said something humorous and made me smile."You have a great smile," he said to me. "You should see how different you look when you smile from the way you look without that smile. Look at the difference in a mirror. Start with smiling. Speak cheerfully to each person you meet. Experiment for an entire month.""So far my experiment has lasted over ten years and I think I’ll keep it up for at least another ten years."
Sponsor Kind Words for only $36! Donations are accepted in any currency. They are tax-deductible in the United States and may be tax-deductible in other countries.For more information contact Shmuel Greenbaum Info@TraditionOfKindness.Org
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