I am just delighted to re-introduce Kylie Bellard to you today. A bit of serendipity led her to our blog and she immediately asked if she might contribute this post on surprising ourselves. Well, of course. Advice this good is meant to be shared. Enjoy.
When most of us think about feeling surprised, we usually think about something outside of us causing it. We feel surprised when someone craftily throws us a party without our knowledge. We feel surprised when we receive an unexpected letter in the mail. In general, we don’t think of surprise as an experience that we can create for ourselves.
I’d like to change that. Surprise can be buckets of fun, so why should you wait for others to surprise you when you can create surprising experiences yourself? (The answer, in case you hadn’t guessed, is this: you shouldn’t!)
There are tons of fun ways that you can surprise yourself. All it takes is some creativity, a bit of advance planning, and an adventurous spirit. Here are just a few of the ways that you can fill your own life with delightful surprises.
1. Send yourself an unexpected present.
Give a close friend or loved one twenty (or fifty!) dollars, along with instructions to buy you something (or multiple things!) that will delight you. Tell that person to purchase that special something, then send it to you in the mail at a random time (preferably after at least a month, to give you a chance to forget). Wait a few months, and then . . . voila! A surprise present will arrive in the mail, from you, for you. (You get bonus points on this one if you do the same for your friend, doubling the surprise.)
2. Plant surprise messages.
Write down encouraging, playful messages, and hide them in special spots for yourself to find throughout the year. If you need some inspiration, you could try messages like these:
Keep going, love.
You’re doing an incredible job!
I’m so proud of you.
You’ve got this.
You’re looking mighty lovely today!
Put them in your pockets (especially the pockets of clothing you wear during seasons other than the current one). Place them in between folded clothes in your drawers. Tuck them between the pages of your favorite books. Put them in your wallet, your purse, your suitcase. You just might find those messages exactly when you need them most.
3. Fill your calendar or journal with delight.
Whenever you get a new calendar or journal, fill it with wonderful surprises. You might drop in an inspiring quote for every week on your calendar, or every few pages in your journal. If you need ideas, here are just a few to start you off.
If you keep an electronic calendar or journal, even better! Scatter it with links to adorable animal photographs or short videos that make you laugh. You’ll thank yourself throughout the year, each time you’re surprised with an unexpected chance to smile.
4. Ask strangers unexpected questions.
Try to trade out your usual weather-related small talk for profound or delightful questions. You’ll be amazed at the surprising answers you receive. Need some ideas to get you started? Here are just a few:
What was your favorite thing to do when you were a kid?
What’s the kindest compliment you’ve ever been paid?
What’s the best surprise you’ve ever received?
If you got to spend a week as one famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
If you were granted one wish by a magic genie, what would it be?
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
5. Surrender yourself to an unknown destination.
Ask someone you love spending time with to take you to a surprise destination. This could be as small as taking a walk around the neighborhood to an unexpected spot, or as grand as taking a weekend (or longer!) road trip to a mystery destination. Try not to look at the map or GPS, and see if you can welcome each unexpected moment as it arrives.
Let the surprises multiply.
Once you start surprising yourself, my guess is you’ll be hooked. Use your enthusiasm to come up with new, different, and more surprising surprises. The opportunities for the unexpected are endless.
Kylie Bellard is an uber-compassionate empowerment coach and photographer who teaches people to like themselves and care for themselves. You can read her weekly musings on self-esteem, self-care, and doing nothing at www.effervescence.me.