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Awareness

Stop. Just Stop. Take a good look around you. How aware are you of the people who are working hard or servicing others? I can hear you now, “I work hard.” I’m sure you do, but forget about yourself for a minute.
In order to contribute to our family finances and stay at home with my daughter, I have three different cleaning jobs. Out of these three differnt places, I have two people who consistently tell me what a good job I’m doing and how much they appreciate it. Two people out of three very public places and one of the places is at a church!
This got me thinking. First, let me say that I am not begging for compliments. In fact, just the opposite. I am guilty of not being aware of the efforts of others, too. I realized this last week. A young boy held a door open for me and I made sure I acknowledged his efforts.
“Thank you. How sweet. What a gentleman you are.” In turn he smiled and his mother actually thanked me for complimenting him.
A patron entered a business I was cleaning and told me how clean it smelled. I thanked her and told her something I’d noticed.
“You always look so pretty and put together every day.”
She froze mid-step and said, “Thank you. That’s the best compliment I’ve had all year.”
These two episodes have shown me how much people appreciate a compliment. I decided to investigate a little further. Of the two people who show their appreciation for my cleaning everytime I see them, one is a minister and the other is a president of a bank. I am employed by neither. Yet their prominent positions in town and their professions have conditioned them to be more aware of others.
After speaking to several others who clean for a living, it is interesting to find that very few people offer thanks. In fact, it seems the few people who go out of their way to point out something you might have missed (yes, there are those people, too. One person today told me that the cleaner I was using stunk!) never tell you thank you or give a compliment.
And still another group of people (the majority) have the attitude “That’s your job,” or “That’s what you get paid for.” What exactly does this constitue? If you’re getting paid, you don’t deserve a compliment or thanks? It’s your job to clean it up even though I made the mess or I can’t be bothered to pick something up myself?
Last week, I was hauling around a large garbage bag, emptying smaller cans. I was shocked when a patron waiting in line ( a white haired gentleman) grabbed the smaller can and emptied it into my bag for me. I was actually so taken aback that I blurted out, “Thank you. You are so sweet,” before I even thought.
I haven’t forgotten it, though. What causes these few individuals to have such a heightened awareness toward others? I think it has more to do than just having good manners. I’m not sure what it is, but I want to join this elite group.
Instead of pointing out a negative, expecting service just because it’s someone’s job, or neglecting to appreciate the efforts of someone else, I am working on becoming aware for a start.
Stop. Just stop. Take a good look around you. What and who do you notice?

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