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Here’s how to make people happy

Emma Grey

“Sometimes acts of kindness aren’t random. They’re very specifically intended just for you.”

Yesterday, I was able to help my friend Emma by accepting this cake. She teaches at Cake Decorating Solutions and had been looking for a recipient for the demonstration cake, and offered it to our family, after a conversation she and I had recently about some challenging things.

‘Surely there are worthier recipients!’ I thought, but I didn’t say it. Em had offered the cake for a reason, and from the heart, and my role was to be genuinely and unapologetically grateful for it, without protest.

Earlier in the day, my sister had surprised me with two vouchers from Dee at maa organics, for relaxation massages for my daughter and I. The gesture made me cry. I was so grateful — it’s something we both really want, but prioritising this above other more pressing expenses would have been difficult at the moment. I saw the look on my sister’s face, and on Dee’s, as they conspired to give us the gift boxes, and I know our responses were exactly as they’d hoped. If I felt warm about receiving the gift, they would have felt radiant giving it.

This came after reading an article last week in which a woman offered to cook for her friend’s family and put the children in bed, once a week. The recipient of this wonderful gesture wrestled mentally: “Naturally, I spent the next 24 hours agonising over it. A few days later, having had a good amount of sense knocked into me, I picked up my phone and with trembling, boundless appreciation said two little words: ‘Yes please.'”

Boundless appreciation. Isn’t that something we all want to feel on the giving end when we’re allowed to do nice things for other people? To be acknowledged. To be allowed to help. To give generously and have that gift received in one, grateful fluid motion — without any block or argument or ‘you shouldn’t have’. 

Whether it’s a physical gift, or the gift of time or help or housework or meals, or a verbal compliment JUST SAY YES. Because sometimes the acts of kindness aren’t random. They’re very specifically intended just for you. Whether you can see it or not, whether it seems right or wrong or from left field or over-the-top — someone else thinks you deserve it. They want to express that. Letting them express it is your gift back.  

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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