A fun little experiment

Many years ago, I did some temp work in a college bookstore. Everyday, the man who was head of security came in to buy a newspaper. He was one of the least friendly people I had ever met. The woman I was working with, told me that for all of the years she had worked there, she had never seen him smile. She was an open, friendly, funny person and so when I proposed a little experiment, she was up for it. I said, “I am going to imagine him smiling and being friendly.” She laughed.

Every morning, I imagined him as a happier man, and pictured him smiling. Instead of dreading him coming into the bookstore, I started looking forward to it because I knew that if I held that thought, eventually I would see what I imagined.  About a week later, he came in to buy his paper, said, “Good morning” and smiled as he said thank you.

People are mirrors of us. My friend at the bookstore was not unfriendly, but she held a belief about him (within herself) that was unfriendly, based on how he had acted in the past. The more that I feel someone is not a nice person, the less I like them, and the less friendly I become around them. When I change my conception of the world, the world (and the people and things within it) must change too.

Do not try to change people; they are only messengers telling you who you are. Revalue yourself, and they will confirm the change.” Neville Goddard

43 thoughts on “A fun little experiment”

  1. Starting a new year is the perfect time to heed Neville Goddard’s
    wise words….

    thanks, Mary for sharing your powerful experiment with us…
    living these true words/actions can set us free ….

    1. Oh thank you Sue! I have been loving the work of Neville Goddard lately, and really working to focus my mind on the good

  2. Well, I’m going to have to look up the work of Neville Goddard. He sounds like a winner!
    Your experiment Mary, sounds like a previous post of yours, and the way my daughter operates her life! See people the way you want them to be, and that’s the way they are! It works!
    Thank you Mary for the reminder, and a good practice to start our new year.
    Love from Fran

  3. Thanks again for the reminder Mary! People are mirrors of us! I love that. I ordered one of Neville’s books. I also added an “F” to my name as there is another JoAnne among us and I wanted to avoid confusion.

  4. Love this post! We should bear in mind too that we don’t know what is going on in someone else’s life…a sickness, death, loss of a job…when we attach that label of “unfriendly” on them.
    Have a great day and remember to smile… Shakespeare: “Smile and the world smiles with you”.

  5. I really needed to hear this post – last night would have been even better! as I lay in bed stewing about a perceived wrong someone had done to my son – instead of seeing the good in this person, I was fretting about my son’s being taken advantage of. . I am also hearing this scripture in my mind:

    Matthew 7:3-5

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    My resolve for today is to let the light in, sweep away unkind thoughts to make room for tolerance and understanding. This I need to work on today. Thanks for the timely post, Mary.

    1. Oh my Mary! I just read a little about Neville Goddard on wikipedia – what treasures you offer us in your quotes. I can’t wait to read his writings and learn more. Thank you!

      1. Thank you for sending this link to us all, Susan. Can’t wait to get into some Neville Goddard myself!

  6. Your post today made me pause and think about people I struggle with and have negative feelings about. One person in particular is bothering me right now. So I just put a picture of this person with the quote you included at the bottom of your posting. I put this in a prominent place so I’ll see it frequently and will do my best to look at this situation differently in the coming days. Thanks for helping to keep our minds and spirits on our toes!


  7. I had dinner with my 20-year-old granddaughter two nights ago (she’s my son’s daughter). She’s returned from her semester in Spain and we were having a brief catch-up before she leaves tomorrow to go back to her campus here in the US.

    We got talking about my life when I was her age, and that led me into describing how I met my first husband (my son’s father). She barely knows my first husband (her grandfather) and she thinks he’s weird. She couldn’t understand what attracted me to him at all.

    Suffice it to say, he did me dirt long ago, and I am more mellow about it now, but apparently, I’m still holding some bad feelings in my heart. I realized later that evening that I had been telling her some of the rotten things he did and how he never bothered with my son while he was growing up. My granddaughter shared with me that this man she barely knows recently went from millionaire status to being virtually penniless.

    I am ashamed to admit it but when she told me that, I felt the smallest feeling of vindication and yes….smug happiness. My reaction has been bothering me ever since because, after all, I’m so “spiritually adept,” don’tcha know! 😉 So I have decided, based on this wonderful post and its comments, to picture him safe, secure and happy. I think it will make me a bigger person, and truth to tell, isn’t that what we are striving for, all in our own ways?

    So thank you Mary, once again, for opening my heart to what I need to be thinking about.

    1. I love this story Suzanne…every part of it….and your decision to hold him in a different light is so moving. Thank you

    2. Suzanne, when I got to the end of your post, it was already evident that you WERE a bigger person!! And what a great gift to be able to pass that along to your children’s children—very sweet.
      I think the light bulb went on for me when I realized all the pent -up negative energy I felt for others was only eating my liver, not theirs. It’s too expensive a price to pay and much cheaper to open the locks on your heart!

  8. Mary/Jack, We had a ball at your place last night…….. it was so relaxing and delicious too. Liked all of the choices and felt right at home lounging in the comfort of the soft couches and mystical dinner table.

    Thanks a bunch, love, Mark

  9. Mary, this message (as all of yours are) is so true! Thanks for the quote, too ~ beautiful!

    Your experiment may have changed that man’s life. I often wonder about people who seem so cranky “for no reason”, and think maybe something terrible is going on at home, or a loved one is ill, or their pet just died… that makes it easier for me to be compassionate, it seems. I can’t recall anyone’s ever having “bitten my head off” when I have approached them kindly.

    Although I don’t normally go around grinning like a hyena (thank God), I often have a little smile on my face (maybe I’m simply nuts). It is amazing to notice how differently people react when one walks up to a cash register smiling, or smiles and jokes with a stressed-out waitperson. Such a small thing, but such a big difference!

  10. Mary: I, too, conducted a little experiment. I worked part time as a greeting card vendor, going from store to store, restocking cards. At one store, a woman department manager, was some scary. She had the meanest face and was mean through and through. Her reputation had preceeded herself. I couldn’t understand the hate for everyone and everything that surrounded her. She made me feel as though I had done some offense, which of course, wasn’t true. I found myself eager to get in and out of her store as quickly as possible. After a few weeks facing her, I remembered something my Pastor had told us…that everyone has a “story”..I thought good and hard what this woman’s story might be. Probably not a happy one. That is when I decided to start praying for her. And I prayed hard. I asked that her heart be softened, that whatever was going on in her life be improved. My outlook toward her didn’t change..I always spoke to her with a happy heart, wished her a good day and did my work. She never spoke to me..but slowly I saw a change. She began with a hi which was a big deal…She finally started making eye contact and even a smile of two. And I kept praying. She soon retired and iin my mind’s eye, I see her smiling, laughing and radiating happiness. You never know….

  11. Everyday I read your post Mary, and then the comments and I think to myself. “This is my favorite one”, then the next day there is another and another…
    you get the picture! I am learning so much here it makes my cheeks hurt from all the smiling. I have done similar things when considering why a person seems so unhappy, but probably just as often I think the worst of someone for some perceived slight. I can think of a couple of people in my life right now that I need to pray for and picture them as happy individuals. Spirit is certainly at work here! Love to you Mary and the flock.

    1. Me, too, Terri. Every day I think “this is my favorite one” only to but amazed the next day. Glorious, isn’t it??

  12. I love the phrase “revalue yourself”. Hindsight being 20/20, it is easier for me to see the patterns that I set up for myself that resulted in difficult relationships and passages. I always wonder about if we are dancing to the tune that someone else is playing or if we set up the circumstances that prove painful…I guess it doesn’t really matter unless I’m bent on assigning blame. I have been sending healing energy to the past, to people and events that resonate with loss and regret, trusting that the sting will be diminished and the lesson revealed. I’ve come to believe that there needn’t always be a big lesson, that the experience itself is what matters. By the way, Suzanne Tate, I understand exactly what you said about your former husband. Don’t beat yourself up about it….revalue yourself !

  13. I agree! Years ago there was a person in our Business Office who seemed to enjoy her reputation as the meanest thing going. I decided to honestly greet her, compliment something I genuinely admired (a scarf, an action, etc.) and pretty soon she was coming up to the counter with a smile. When I had major surgey, she was the only one on campus who sent me flowers besides my own office.

    What we think upon we become: many spiritual practices recognize this fact & it’s so good when we remember this. Thanks for the reminder, Mary & cyber crew!

    1. Wonderful story Kathi, and your point of looking for the things about her that you honestly could compliment is so important…I have come to see that if I don’t really feel a compliment as the giver, it doesn’t have much power. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. I’ve worked in retail sales for over 35 years, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve used this strategy on customers. There were some that I dreaded waiting on, and maybe even some that I hated a little bit:( After taking their unfriendly, and sometimes rude behavior too personally, I started to try the act as if method. I acted as if they were friendly and responded as such. I would say that 9 times out of 10 it worked, and made my job and life much happier. Many of my so called “dreaded and hated” customers became people I held close to my heart. I try to remind myself that we are not always feeling inside they way we appear on the outside. Many people are just preoccupied with their lives, and don’t mean to be rude or unfriendly. Hopefully, my smile and greeting reminds them to connect. I like to think that we are all on this earth together, and we should try to be nice to each other. Thank you, Mary, for helping me to reflect and think:)

  15. this is a wow blog!!!!!!!! thanks everyone for the comments. i mean it. i have been at my computer reading neville goddard. these are not new revelations/truths.

    i envisioned a spiritual community, it is realized.

    1. Yes to that Virginia!, and I am thrilled beyond words that Neville has been so well-received!…his teachings are profound and life-changing

      1. that is so sweet Suzanne! (and i love the idea of an infinite supply of cookies and milk!)

  16. I totally agree with Terri Brown


    Thank you so much for YOU
    as a woman in her late fifties who has devoted her life to her husband and raising her daughter with a chronic medical problem your blog is such a blessing …. as I am learning to have ME time
    I too have always said when you come across an unhappy/hateful person
    there has to be a reason and my heart hurts for them
    I deal with customers every day and funny if there is a difficult client my boss always given them to me
    I call it ” give it to Mickey” LOL
    I make it a challenge to make that person HAPPY ……..what is that saying………..kill them with kindness….and It always works

  17. Great post and stories! This brings to mind an Abraham Lincoln quote that goes something like “I don’t like that man…I must get to know him better.” Knowing that there is something to find and like in everyone.

  18. Mary, I just wanted to say thank you for your thought provoking and insightful posts. I have been reading your blog for about 8 months and have found them to be a wonderful and practical source of positive energy and inspiration. I have recommended you to a number of my friends and family. Two days before Christmas my beloved 18 year old nephew committed suicide. Your posts are one of the weapons I am using to surround myself with light to beat back the darkness.

    1. Karen, I am so sorry for your loss and what you are going through. My prayers and thoughts will be with you, hopefully making the Light a bit brighter and stronger to help you in your fight. Blessings and love.

      Suzanne Tate

  19. I read Mary’s blog this morning and Maria’s blog about Mary’s blog this evening. What fun! Good night …..sleep tight….know where that saying comes from? I do …….found out at the Pearl S. Buck house in Doylestown, Pa. Who else knows the answer to this trivia question? Don’t lose any sleep over it…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  20. Now if we could just convince everyone on the planet to try Mary’s “fun little experiment” all at the same time . . .

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