In days gone by, it was a common social courtesy to say “bless you” when someone sneezed in your presence. But in the past few years, I’ve noticed that it’s becoming less and less common.
Yet it is a practice, I personally, would like to restore to our everyday interactions with each other.
Why do I think it is time for the return of “bless you”?
I’m not coming from a religious or faith related motive with my campaign, the simple fact is that I have observed that the act of saying and hearing “bless you” seems to have positives for both the speaker and the listener.
One such experience I had recently and would like to share, starts with me walking down the street in a nice, big, impersonal city; the type where people don’t typically greet each other on the street.
I was walking up a hill alone and so were a bunch of other people. Suddenly I had to sneeze once, not very loud, just normally. I heard a big “Bless you” behind me and wasn’t really sure what to think – be surprised, shocked or stunned? I certainly didn’t expect it, coming so pro-actively from a woman I had never seen before in my life.
Before I could say thank you, I had to sneeze a second time. Normally the first “bless you” would have been courtesy enough, but that lady was persistent, and smilingly she insisted on a second “bless you”. I thanked her and while I didn’t dare to sneeze again, I found the interchange had a profound impact on me.
That day had actually been a really tough day on several levels. Things were not going well and I didn’t expect the day to end much better either. But, believe it or not, within minutes of getting two “bless you”s from this anonymous woman, my day turned around, completely. Everything fell into place and the day ended much better than it possibly could have been when it started.
Two simple words from a stranger, and my negative mindset was washed away.
From this experience, I find that wishing others well can never be a bad idea – it may just create that small element of positivity they need that day (or that moment) and that’s more than just social courtesy.
So listen closely, there may be a ‘bless you’ required before you know it.