Do you have a grandma who says “You’ll catch more flies with honey, than you will with vinegar”? There is truth to this cliché statement. While so many people are putting others down and screaming their demands to get ahead, I want to be known for gentleness and kindness. I want to be remembered as being lovely. This can apply to every area in our lives, not just to a hospitality ministry. However, it’s important to note that if we want to live hospitable lives, we must be pleasant and welcoming. The more pleasant we are, the more people want to be around us, the more effective we are in our ministries.
Below are 10 things to consider to stay lovely:
1.) Smile. Smiling immediately puts others at ease and makes them more comfortable. Smiling softens your face, takes years off of your appearance, and makes you less threatening. Smiling is just kind.
2.) Say please and thank you. Basic manners never go out of style and should always be used. Teach your children to use please, thank you, and excuse me, then model that behavior yourself.
3.) Make eye contact. Have you ever talked with someone that won’t look at you? Doesn’t it make you uneasy? Like something is wrong? When someone is addressing you, or you are addressing them, make eye contact. Show them that you are focused on them and your attention is 100% theirs.
4.) Be positive. Did you ever watch Winnie the Pooh as a child (or adult – I’m unashamed of my entertainment choices). Remember Eeyore having tons of friends that always wanted to hang out with him? Yeah me neither. No one wants to be around someone who is always negative. Life will never be 100% positive and no one expects you to fake like you’re happy all the time. But we should not let our negativity be a way of life.
5.) Offer praise. Whether it’s your husband fixing a leaky faucet, your child mowing the lawn, or a friend planting new flowers, offer praise for a job well done. This is encouraging to others and fosters a grateful spirit.
6.) Be grateful. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Amazing things happen to our mental and physical health when we take time to be grateful for what we have. Giving thanks elevates our mood and decreases our stress levels.
7.) Be on time. If you have an event to attend, if you’ve been invited to a dinner or a party, show up 5 minutes early. It’s not polite to make others wait on you. We all have some instances in our lives when it’s unavoidable. Just don’t make it a habit. Make being a “few minutes late” The exception, not the rule.
8.) Be slow to judge. The beggar on the street, the crying child in the grocery store, the sleep deprived mother in the line behind you, or the grumpy patient in the exam room. If you don’t know the rest of their story, don’t judge the scene you’re seeing.
9.) Walk with your head up. When you walk with your head down you send one of two messages. You’re saying “I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I’m here to get in and out” OR you say “I’m not good enough to talk to you, I’m not confident, I wish I was someone and somewhere else”. Neither of these messages are ones you want to send. When you walk with your head down, you also tend to miss the beauty in the world surrounding you. This can lead to a more negative outlook on life. Lift you head up, and your spirits will lift with it.
10.) Avoid complaining. The reality is that there are always things we can complain about. None of us have perfect lives. All of us deal with disappointment, failure, and pain. Yet we still have a choice. We don’t have to spend our lives complaining. I’d rather be identified by my positive words and praise to God rather than by constant complaining.
When we commit ourselves to a gentle and lovely lifestyle, we have a bigger influence and positive impact on those around us.