Be Kind, Be Thankful: First Rate Living Manager’s Campaign to Reflect and Empower

In September, First Rate’s Chief Marketing Officer, Emily Traxler, texted me with a “crazy idea for a campaign.” She asked what my thoughts were about creating a movement around ‘Being Kind’ and ‘Being Thankful’  where we could crowdsource comments and thoughts from our coworkers. I loved the idea and told her I’d handle it! We have featured a few that you may have seen on our social channels, but we are excited to continue to share more positive thoughts to reflect on in 2021. ‘Be Kind’ and ‘Be Thankful’ have both had a significant impact on me in their own way.

Be Kind. I love the chance this campaign has given coworkers to think positively about others and think about themselves in a year where emotions have all been heightened. I asked people if they could leave encouraging or kind words behind on a Starbucks table for a random person to find, what would you say? I enjoyed watching my coworkers think hard about this question. What would you say to a random person to encourage them? “You’re enough.” “You’re doing a great job.” “Turn the TV off today.”  “Take a break from social media.”  “You deserve to spend a day without all of that negativity.” “I’m proud of you.” There were so many great, uplifting, kind words my coworkers had to say. I felt encouraged every time I left a conversation; and those words weren’t supposed to be directed at me! Going forward, what kind words do you want to leave people with or what kind words do you want to hear? Exercise the kindness muscle you have and be kind often. The people in your life, family members, coworkers, friends, and strangers need it!

Be Thankful. How often do you sit and reflect on the people, places, events, and things you’re thankful for in your life? My coworkers had some amazing people, places, and events that got them through 2020. I heard people who were thankful for their moms, their spouses, their jobs, their offices, their health, and even some emotions. Multiple people responding with, “Just one? There’s too many to just name one,” left me grateful for the chance to spark a reflection moment for my coworkers. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game of life. This in turn leaves us depressed, exhausted, and never satisfied with the life we’re living. Being thankful allows us to dwell on the life we have and truly cherish the moments, the people, the things, and the places we have around us. If anything, 2020 taught me what I don’t need to be joy-filled and thankful. What things come to mind when you think of thankfulness?

Like many of yours, my 2020 was filled with highs and lows. From the experiences 2020 brought, I’ve never been more thankful for vulnerability and human contact. I’m thankful for emotions, basically. But in all seriousness, I reflected on my year and saw a reoccurring theme of primary emotions met with immediate grace, processing, and possibilities. I had more time with my parents and 3 of my friends during quarantine than I’ve had in 10 plus years previously. The conversations we had were rich, vulnerable, and life-giving (at least at the end of the day, they were). If I had gone through this year with a closed-off attitude, a surface-level mentality, or a less-than-hopeful outlook towards the events of COVID, racism, and the elections, this year would have been 100 times worse than it was. These vulnerable moments with my parents, dear friends, counselor, and coworkers led to action and change. Here’s a plug for mental health – it’s important! It’s ok to see a therapist and heal; we all benefit from it. Not to mention human contact, how much good a hug will do ya! If you haven’t hugged someone in a few months, weeks, or days, find the person you trust most and give them a hug. While you may feel people or the media are telling you to do differently, your brain, your body, and your heart will say, “Thank you.” And those are things worth listening to!

The kind words I’d like to leave behind for you to find would be, “You’re worthy of all the love and all the good things you wish for others to find and experience.” Value and worth are two things we all struggle with at one point or another in life. I’m here to remind you, you’re worth it all and then some! Mistakes are made, we all make bad decisions, treat people unfavorably, the list goes on. However, if you’re still alive and breathing, you’re worthy of a good day, a good love, a good life, and a good opportunity to share with someone else how worthy they are, too. Each of us were made in the image of God and I fully believe each of us has immeasurable value and worth to bring to the table of life. Don’t diminish yours by thinking of your mistakes each day. Give yourself grace, give yourself love, and take advantage of each day to live more freely as the person you were created to be! When you’re kind to yourself, you’re kind to others. ?

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