Last week I started a social experiment without even realizing it.
Let me back up a bit and explain.
After having a great conversation with a friend Friday morning, I found myself with this burning desire inside to spread some love.
I’m weird like that.
So I came up with the idea to offer it up freely on Facebook. This is what my post said, word for word:
“Comment on this post with your favorite emoji and I’ll tell you one way you have been an encouragement in my life. This isn’t one of those chain thingies, I just really want to love on you guys today— especially if you’re having one of those days, weeks, lives where you feel like nothing you do matters. I got you! ❤”
I had no idea what to expect. Part of me wondered if everyone would ignore it, though I hoped they wouldn’t.
Emojis started to slowly trickle in and I was excited to get the chance to love on a couple of people that day.
But then they kept coming. And coming. And next thing I knew, I had 39 people to respond to.
I had people from all walks of my life in there. Friends I see on a daily basis, friends I haven’t seen since high school, and friends I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person.
It took me all day to send a response to everyone. I made it a point to really think about it. I wanted to give true, genuine, individual responses to each person.
I didn’t get an ounce of work done that day. The laundry sat, the blog stayed untouched, and I didn’t ship a thing—but it was amazing.
By the end of the evening, I was in such a state of euphoria over loving on others all day long, that I was literally giggling like a mad woman as I was telling my husband about the whole experience.
Some people went out of their way to respond to what I said. Some even loved on me back. The exchange of encouragement within this thread ended up being 135 comments of pure goodness.
And I realized that the world needs this. It needs more of this right here. People offering their love, but also—people willing to accept it.
When someone tries to help you to your car when you’ve got your hands full of groceries + kids, do you let them? Or do you gently say, “thanks, but I’ve got it!” and handle it yourself?
Let me tell you, I lean toward the latter. I pride myself on my ability to do things by myself, by not needed other people’s help. But when we never let others help us, we never let them serve us. I love serving people and I would feel uselesss if I couldn’t do it, so why don’t I let others serve me?
If someone I hadn’t spoken to in years had posted the exact same thing as me, I would have never commented on it. I would have wanted to maybe, but would have rationalized that they would think it was weird, that the post wasn’t meant for me, etc.
That is some serious backwards thinking. What I learned through this accidental social experiment, is that if you give people the chance to receive love, they’ll take it. And that you too, should do the same.
I also learned just how much I wanted to love on those people I hadn’t spoken to in years.
People die, and I’ve lost my fair share. One of the hardest things about death is that you always feel like you never got the chance to tell that person what they meant to you.
But what if we could do that now? Right now. Today.
What if we chose to tell those old friends and new friends and everyone in-between about the impact they have made in our lives. What if we left no story untold?
That’s how I want to live.
And if you’re looking for a full heart, no page unturned kind of life, give my experiment a try. You can copy and paste exactly what I said and watch how encouraged not only everyone who comments on it feels afterwards, but how encouraged you feel after a day of loving on everyone else.
To all of the non-mom friends who still show up. This one is for you.
I decided to have children years before my closest friends.
I didn’t run the idea by them or discuss how it may change our dynamic as friends— I just did it.
I don’t think we think about things like that, you know? And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a drastic, one-sided change.
It’s not like we ordered a friends dinner for them before they showed up or picked the movie without asking or wore the same dress as them to a party because we forgot to coordinate appropriately.
The choice we made on their behalf was much bigger. We virtually gave them an ultimatum:
Get used to a completely new version of our friendship, or move on.
And again, it wasn’t intentional. It just is what it is.
But to all of my non-mom friends who still show up, I just want to say thank you.
Thank you for never assuming I hate you because I didn’t text you back for the bazillionth time (because I accidentally texted you back in my mind instead of in real life….again).
Thank you for trading in long drives to the beach and happy hours, for lunch dates where you spend approximately 30-45 minutes trying to have a conversation with me without full eye contact— I know I’m cleaning mac and cheese off of the floor, begging my toddler to sit down over and over again, and trying to shovel food in my mouth before the kids decide they are ready to tantrum their way out of there— but I promise I’m listening to every single word you say.
Thank you for sitting in my car with my kids so that I can run into the bank to deposit that money I’ve had sitting in my wallet for weeks because the damn ATM won’t accept the bills.
Thank you for waiting in my living for over an hour while I put the kids to bed, even though you know we will only get about an hour to catch up before I need to go to bed myself— since 5:00 am wake up calls are a regular occurrence in my house.
Thank you for loving my kids. For hugging them and reading to them and playing with them. For treating them like members of your own family and acting genuinely excited to see them every single time.
Thank you for reminding me of who I am outside of my children. For always asking me how my passions and dreams are going, and for helping me stay up to date with things other than the latest Disney Channel original series.
Thank you for showing up. Time and time again.
Even when you witness my child shit all over the high chair and my hands in a restaurant. (Seriously, I can’t believe you still go out to eat with me after that. You’re the best.)
Even when it takes me three days to respond to you. Even when I have to cancel for the umpteenth time because the kids got sick, or hit their heads, or have a doctors appointment that I totally blanked on.
You keep calling. Keep texting. Keep checking in on me and reminding me that even though I made this choice for our friendship without asking, you still love me.
Photo: Brenda Munoz Photography
Another day, another Facebook invite for protein shakes or mascara or cleaning supplies— am I right? Seems like everyone these days is involved in some form of MLM (multi-level marketing) or home business opportunity that they are just dying to get you on board with.
I always feel bad when a friend asks me to have a virtual party, because I know the general consensus is a slow eye roll when we see a notification for “Sarah’s LulaRoe” or “Amber’s Stella & Dot Bash”. I’m not sure if it’s over saturation or just our societies general distrust, but I know there is a lot of negativity around women who try to start their own businesses this way. But today I want you to shift your mindset— just a bit, and hear me out as to why I buy from mom bosses, and why you should too.
You trusted their opinion before they started selling (insert product here)
I’m going to assume that the people you are friends with on social media are people who’s ideas and opinions you value. If this person posts a photo of a meal from a restaurant they love and recommends it, would you take that opinion as one worth listening to? Would the restaurant make your list of places to try next time you were out or in the area? If so, then why is a product they are referring you to that they receive an income from, any different? Every single person I see selling something uses it themselves. So if you trusted these women’s opinions before, them earning a commission off of something they love shouldn’t change a thing.
You’re probably buying a different version of the product already
Chances are, your friend is selling something that you already invest a little money into. Whether it be beauty products, jewelry, nail designs, clothes, cleaning products, food plans, etc.— most of us find ourselves either already purchasing things like these, or already seriously considering doing so before we are approached by a friend who is selling them. So why not consider trying out the brand your friend is selling? Especially if it’s something you were already investing in.
A little support goes a long way
Have you ever been in a position where you just needed people to have a little faith in you? Well, starting your own business is hard. You get told no more than yes, along with people being downright rude to you for no reason. It can be incredibly emotional and stressful taking a leap of faith with your career, which is why a little support goes a long way. Hosting that free online party to help a friend out won’t cost you a dime— but it will give your friend a boost of confidence and open the doors for an audience they wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
All you have to lose is money
I know that sounds weird because we value money so much in our society, but think about it. Let’s say you buy something for $25 and you hate it. Chances are you can return it, but even if you can’t, it only cost you $25 to find out that that product line isn’t for you. Would you spend $25 on this person in real life? Say, for a birthday present or a couple coffees throughout the year? If this person is someone you would invest in on a personal level, then you should consider investing in them on a professional level as well, by investing in trying out their products. I personally, would buy all of you a coffee or two, or three— because that’s just who I am. So spending that same amount on helping your business is a no brainer to me. Obviously you can’t afford to support everyone at once. That’s why I usually choose one business a month (or every other month) to make a purchase from/try out.
You may just love what they are selling after all
Off the top of my head, I can think of about 7 different friends that I have bought from to date. Out of those 7, I have liked 6 of the companies and continue to buy. Like I said, you really don’t have anything to lose, but you have a ton to gain. Buying from my mom boss friends has opened my eyes to several wonderful products that I never would have given the time of day. I’ve saved time, money, and found products that are better for myself and the environment. And to top it all off, I’ve been able to help fellow mamas put food on their tables. That, to me, is worth every penny.
So go give a mom boss a virtual high-five and tell her she’s great. Book that online party or trunk show. Give her a chance, friends. You really have nothing to lose and it will mean more to her than you know.