Here’s what I mean when I say, touching hearts. Touching hearts consists of finding a way in real time to help someone else feel good about themselves.
Touching hearts brings me joy.
“Aha!” blurts some judgmental naysayer, in a tone that reeks with gotcha. “You do this because it makes you feel good!”
Even when held in a favorable light, the naysayer’s observation comes fractured down the middle because of a massive blind spot. It does not recognize or even acknowledge one unassailable fact. Here’s the fact. Witnessing happiness appear on someone’s face makes me feel good.
It’s quite simple, really. Seeing someone happy makes me happy. However, if you are going to reach out to someone to touch their heart, your gesture must be rooted in respect, honesty and kindness. It’s important to remember that this moment is not about you. It’s about touching the heart of the person who, let’s say is working at the cash register at a 24-hour gas station food mart. We’ll call him, Biff.
“Why, Biff?” you ask.
“Because this is my essay and that’s what it says on his name plate: “Biff.””
Biff is friendly and attentive with the customers. When I get to the register, I say, “You’re a good man, Biff. It shows.”
A heartfelt smile appears on his face. In that moment he is happy. Then, yes, I am happy.
On another occasion I might say something along the lines of, “Anyone who doesn’t like you is simply not paying attention.”
A few years ago, I lived in in Oneonta, New York. One early morning, I picked up a few things at the supermarket. Eight A.M., or thereabouts. As I was leaving, I saw a woman standing in one of the lines. She had, and no doubt still has, one of the most strikingly beautiful faces I’ve ever seen.
I decided it would be a nice thing to tell her, if there were a way to do so that would be wholly peaceful, cheerful, unthreatening, and, most important of all, make her happy.
She was in the grocery line with customers on either side. Good. There were other people there. So, I walked up to her
She smiled (as did the others in line, I was happy to see) and said, “Okay.”
“You’ve got one of the most strikingly beautiful faces I’ve ever seen in my life.” I glanced at my watch. “I’m out of time, gotta go!”
And away I went.
When I said those words to that woman, I meant them. Seeing her light up into a big smile and hearing her say, Thank you, made me happy.