Grow Your Lil’ Heart

Bless your heart.

If you are from the South you have heard this said at some point in your life. It has many meanings depending on the situation. It can mean you are genuinely concerned, it can be the same as “oh my goodness”, it can mean you are being polite for the sake of being polite, it can be a “thank you” and the list goes on.

I heard this phrase used ALL the time growing up. I usually heard it in the context of “oh my goodness” or “thank you”. This phrase makes me think of The Grinch. Are you familiar with the Christmas cartoon classic, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? It was a book first. The book was first published by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) in 1957.

The Grinch had a heart that was very small. The book tells us this was part of why he acted the way he did toward people. He was a mean one. He was selfish. He was a classic narcissist.

Real-life Grinches exist. They cut you down with their words. They tower over you to make themselves feel better. They place the most value on their own feelings. They don’t consider your thoughts or ideas at all.

When we meet Grinches in the South…we say “bless your heart”. We see they need help. We can tell something happened somewhere in the past that caused that small heart not to grow. We feel sorry for them. Yet, it doesn’t mean we become doormats to their bad behavior. Do not get it twisted!


Some Grinches can’t be helped. They are who they are. We aren’t talking about those here. I want to talk about those who have the ability to change. They want to change for the better. The ones who understand their way of doing things aren’t working anymore.

I want to help some Grinches grow their lil’ heart! I think we can all do it. I’m not alone in this. We all have to pitch in. If we want our communities to get better we have to work together.


This is how we help:

  • We do one good deed for them. We don’t continue to do it. We just do it once and see what happens. If they ask for a ride to the store – give them a ride. If they need $20 to get them to the next week. Go ahead and give them the $20. Don’t ask for the $20 back either. Just give it to them. It’s your gift to them. Remember: don’t do it again. Do it once and see what happens. If there is some good in them -they will happily take you up on your good deed. Plus, it will give them time to think about why you might have offered to help them. It may make them realize they could do something too. Pay it forward. Sometimes, I think folks forget that there are still good people out there. They just need a reminder. Hopefully, it will help lead them in a good direction. If it doesnt…it doesn’t.
  • Collect some canned foods in a bag and give it to them. Give it to them without them asking for it. Just do it. If they ask why: just tell them you just wanted to! It was on your heart to do it! And go on your merry little way.
  • Clothes giveaway! If you know they can fit some of your clothes, bag up some clothes and give it to them. Just because!
  • Help them with finding a part-time job until they get on their feet. I know some people are in positions where they might need someone who can help out with a few things once a week or a few times a month. Offer them some money to come trim your bushes every so often or mow your lawn. Maybe they can do some filing or helping you set up some software on your computer. Maybe they can help with some painting you needed to do around the house. Offer them $50 or more to help you out. Alot of people like feeling useful, they just don’t know how to go about it. You may discover you have a really creative person on your hands. It will help build their confidence and sometimes that’s all a person needs.
  • Find out what they enjoy and hang out with them doing it. Some people are Grinches because they are just lonely. They don’t know how to express themselves properly so they act out and are mean for no reason. They don’t know how to ask for help, for advice, or how to create a friendship. Give them a glimpse into what it could be like.

Note: The ideas I created are suggestions for people who you actually know. I wrote these suggestions in mind for a neighbor, a coworker, or a friend of a friend. We have to be really careful with extending ourselves to people we don’t know at all. I just want to make sure I make that clear. I want everyone to be safe. Use your best judgment when you do nice things for people you don’t know well yet.

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