5 Ways to Make Collateral Amends
We’ve all heard of collateral damage. Unintended consequences that occur when we think we only were hurting ourselves. I remember the thought ,”I’m not hurting anyone, it’s my business how much I drink.” Boy was I wrong. I left a whole wake of damage behind me. Of course I have made direct amends to those I had harmed, just like I’m supposed to. But, just as the damage spread like a virus, amends can be made collaterally as well.
- Smile all the time. Seriously. It sounds simple and it is. If you are smiling, people smile back at you and then they are smiling at the next person and you have just spread smiles. It is really difficult to be down when you are smiling. Spread that crap all over.
- Give compliments. Not just to those you know. Give a compliment to the cashier at the gas station, the girl at Walmart, or your teller at the bank window. You really aren’t aware of the lasting impression this will make on someone. It’s like the smile only more. You are leaving drops of glitter in your wake.
- Load someone’s groceries. Be intentional about it. Every single time you go to the grocery store, find that elderly woman or couple and load their groceries. Not only are you making their day, you are creating great karma for you in your elder years. We really need to lay the groundwork now.
- Give someone random a scratch off ticket. I met this 70 year old woman at a prison conference. She taught English in the prison system. I watched her on this Saturday give at least 6 scratch offs to random people. Our instructor, someone who held her door, and the girl at Dairy Queen who took her order. I asked her about it. She kept about $20 worth of $1 scratchers on her at all times and just gave them away. Sometimes people won, sometimes they didn’t. But it was her way of saying “thanks” “have a great day” and “you’re awesome.” It is now my single most favorite thing to do. Spread hope everywhere you go.
- Pay it forward. I know you have been in line at McDonald’s and you tried to pay for your meal, but the cashier told you your meal was paid for by the person in front of you so you paid for the next person. That’s all good, but everyone is paying until that one person that just says thanks and breaks the chain. It’s sweet, but kind of silly really. Take it to the next level. Pay for someone’s groceries. Or a family’s meal at a restaurant. Stay anonymous. Do a good deed and leave it there. Don’t post about it on FB to be told how awesome you are. Just do a good deed for the sake of making someone’s day. You will be surprised how much it makes your day.
If we all go around trying to create collateral amends, because really, even if you didn’t drink like I did, I know you were an asshole at one time or another, life gets just a little bit better in the little space we take up. Go be awesome and spread that awesome to everyone you touch.