Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Helping Out

Each day in the gym I say hey, hi, how’s it going, looking good, or some such to perhaps 20 people. Sometimes it is in response to their getting in the first word, sometimes I get it in first. So, how is this “helping out”?

Working out is one of those things that can be very lonely - even, or perhaps especially, in a crowded gym. All too many of us have a few self image issues - and to be working out with the younger, buffer, “beautiful” people can make those who are not quite there any longer a bit reticent, and make their working out a lonely experience. Just noticing they are there - saying hi each time you see them - telling them if you see they are doing something well, or perhaps losing some weight. These little things will make it so much easier for others to enjoy their time at the gym. And, if you are able, give them some tips if you can see something that might help them in their workout (remembering to be very cautious if suggesting anything that might hurt them - especially older them’s).

For myself, when someone notices me, and perhaps makes a kind comment - I glow for a while. OK - most of the teens in the gym are probably not really interested in what an old fart thinks of their routine (unless said old fart’s routine has elements that are significantly harder than theirs). But the older people, in general, really really appreciate a little kindness, a word recognizing their doing things well, or their just trying hard to do things well.

Michael, my work out bud, sent me a sermon that he thought was instructive - it told several stories of people who were kind to others and got some kind of a materialistic reward for their efforts. This is not what I am going on about in this post: I am talking about being kind to others for the simple reason that it will make them feel better. No other reward is necessary - just the satisfaction of knowing you made someone else’s time at the gym a bit better - perhaps making them a bit more willing to come in tomorrow.

Take a moment next time you are in the gym, look at those working out around you and make a conscious effort to give an older person a reason to look forward to being in the gym.

It’s all about doing things, and the satisfaction and happiness one finds from even the simplest kindness.

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