Is it possible that two words can change someone’s day, someone’s life? What if those same two words could change the world? Well, I’m on a quest to find out – and, with your help, this quest will be a success.
This quest inadvertently began last November in a grocery store.
I was standing in the checkout line behind a woman who looked to be in her 60s. When it was her turn to pay, the cashier greeted her by name and asked her how she was doing.
The woman looked down, shook her head and said, “Not so good. My husband just lost his job and my son is up to his old tricks again. The truth is, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the holidays.”
Then she gave the cashier food stamps.
My heart ached. I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Should I offer to pay for her groceries, ask for her husband’s resume? I did nothing – yet. And the woman left the store.
As I walked into the parking lot, I spotted the woman returning her shopping cart, and I remembered something in my purse that could help her in a different but hopefully profound way. It wasn’t a handful of cash or a lead on a job for her husband, but maybe – just maybe – it would make her life better.
My heart pounded as I approached the woman.
“Excuse me,” I said, my voice trembling a bit. “I couldn’t help overhearing what you said to the cashier. It sounds like you’re going through a really hard time right now. I’m so sorry. I’d like to give you something.”
And I handed her a business-sized card.
When the woman read the card’s only two words, she began to cry. And through her tears, she said, “You have no idea how much this means to me.”
I was a little startled by her reply. Having never done anything like this before, I hadn’t anticipated the reaction I might receive. All I could think to respond was, “Oh my. Would it be OK to give you a hug?”
After we embraced, I walked back to my car -- and began to cry too.
The words on the card?
A few weeks earlier, a colleague gave me a similar card as encouragement for a project I was working on. When I read the card, I felt a warm glow spread inside of me. Deeply touched, I came home and ordered my own box of You Matter cards and started sharing them.
First, I gave them to family and close friends. Even if they weren’t in as dire straits as the woman at the grocery store, their faces lit up and often their eyes moistened when they read those two words.
As I became bolder, I started giving the You Matter cards to people in my community who make my life richer – such as my dry cleaner and the man who sells me fruit at the farmer’s market. While the gesture didn’t always end in an actual hug, the words were a hug in themselves. The recipients were visibly moved. And I was too.
Then I became a bit mischievous. I began leaving cards in places where I couldn’t witness who received them. I tucked one inside the pages of a library book I was returning. I placed another one in the credit card slot at a gas pump.
At the time I met the woman in the grocery store, I was completing a certificate program in Applied Positive Psychology sponsored by the Flourishing Center. I learned the science behind happiness and well-being.
One of the forefathers in the field of positive psychology, Chris Peterson, said that the entire practice boils down to three words: “Other people matter.”
Well, my experience in the grocery store confirmed that telling other people they matter also matters.
People crave connection but feel more isolated than ever. Every one of us is here for a reason. We are all essential. We need, and are needed by, each other.
That simple encounter in the parking lot has become the You Matter Marathon.
No running required!
The goal is to create and enrich positive connections between individuals and within communities by collectively sharing 10,000 You Matter cards during November, when the holiday season starts and too many people find too many reasons to feel they don’t matter.
Together, let’s make some magic.
If inspired, you can join the You Matter Marathon here and sign up to receive 30 You Matter cards at no charge! Each week in November, participants will receive an email with card sharing missions, inspiring quotes, and an opportunity to share experiences and connect with each other online.
Cheryl Rice is a professional speaker and coach and the author of Where Have I Been All My Life?. Her company, Your Voice Your Vision partners with women striving to be leaders in their own lives.
wonderful writing about love and happiness
I really enjoyed reading this article because I feel everyone has things they are going though and little acts of kindness goes a long way.
I love this article and the volume that it speaks. Kindness and generosity is a powerful tool that you can use when you are talking to people. You never know what someone is going through in their person life. Words speak loudly and can turn someone's day around. --Ryan
Love this. I do something similar with "Enough" charms. I give them to people to remind them,
"You are enough."
"You do enough."
And sometimes it is an encouragement to stand up for oneself and say, "Enough!"
I have often used Henri Nouwen’s simple encouragement, “You are Beloved.”
Thank you . The words " You matter " are so much required in today's world torn apart by hate and intolerance .
The so called developed nation do not reflect a bit on the plight of the indigenous people of the United states of America. What right they have to point on other countries shortfalls. It is time for all good hearted and humanly conscious Americans to stand with the native Indian Americans.
wonderful writing about love and happiness in a daily event
1 reply: Elissa | Post Your Reply
I've been part of the marathon the past two years and 'share the wealth' by giving 3 cards to people I know and ask them to share the other two. I've also sent several to a niece in prison so she could remind others that they do matter and that she cares.
I have a similar card, it says , Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do. plus more. I give to bathroom attendance, clerks, and others who serve us daily.
Y'know, if a stranger handed me one of those cards, I'd probably be *really* annoyed.
Holding the door open behind you is nice. Thanking the stranger who holds the door open behind self is nice. Approaching a stranger with something that sounds like some sort of therapy-group move is not so nice.
I'll probably attract hatespews by saying this, but it's *not* nice to take it upon yourself to decide when and how you think a stranger needs his or her self-esteem boosted. It's sort of insulting.
You matter -- My Stranger!
With all my heart
With all my passion
With all my compassion
Unknown becomes known to me
Through -- "You matter". . .
In the immensity of bliss
And hug cards? I've done them, too. You can read about them here:
I am wondering, by any chance ~ if the original “you matter” card you received was bright green with "you matter" in a simple hand writing.
I have been giving out “you matter” cards for over ten years. I created them after first designing one for my kids that was a mirror that same size with a tiny “you matter” at the bottom. (there’s a whole story to it) Since then I’ve given them to everyone from homeless people (several churches put them in bags with needed items) ~ to a billionaire. I recently sent several hundred to a teacher at a school where a student’s father had been shot by the police. I’ve been to peace rallies and given them to cops and to people that have felt marginalized. They’ve gone to high school students entering the National Honor Society and to people who were ready to be done with life. This past month I've given out 1,000 of them myself, so you're well on your way with your goal.
My green cards with the tiny hand-written message were created an awkward color that can’t be easily misplaced, with the message in my hand-writing to be personal and unassuming.
I’ve always thought of doing what you have done with them.
It sure does make me smile.[Hide Full Comment]
Wonderful. I carry and share free hugs cards. Especially powerful with the Homeless 2ho on occasion Jin me for a,meal and conversation. Indeed we all want and need connection. Hugs from my heart to yours.
So excited to see the You Matter Marathon shared here on Daily Good!
On Jun 17, 2022 breakingheadlinenewstoday.com wrote:
Beautiful Girl Tries to Choose the Best Boyfriend with Magic Cupids Kissing Tips -- AMAZING TALENT: A blog that goes over relationship and dating tips.https://tinyurl.com/2s9xjm89
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