Showing love is not the topic I had planned for today, but it has been on my mind lately. Robin Williams’ death pushed it to the forefront. All last night I kept seeing and hearing things like, “If you need help, please talk to someone.” While this is true, I think it puts the responsibility all on the person suffering. When did we hand off the responsibility of human kindness? When did it start to seem normal to ignore hurting people?
All of us are different, yet we all have needs in common. We all need love. We all need affection. We all want to be told we matter. We all want to be appreciated.
As someone who doesn’t suffer from depression, I can’t know what people are going through. In general, I am a happy person. But after I lost my Mom I had a difficult time. Thoughts swirled through my mind that, quite honestly, scared me. I didn’t tell my family because I was ashamed. I can’t imagine battling those thoughts my whole life. It was exhausting putting up a brave front for a few months. You know what helped me? (Besides my faith of course.) Spending time with my family, especially my Grandma. We had her for 8 more months after Mom went to heaven. Much of that time was spent drinking tea together. We talked, laughed, cried, and comforted each other. We were there for each other in meaningful ways. Those months I had with her were such a blessing, and I cherish the time.
So what can you do? The next time there is a compliment on your tongue, don’t bite it back. Don’t hold back because the other person *might* think you are weird. Tell them what they mean to you. Smile at someone. Hug them. Invite people to your home for coffee or a meal. Show love without hesitation. If you miss the moment, you may not get it back. And you definitely won’t know what it can mean to that person. Be grateful when something is done for you, especially the little things. If someone did something nice, even if it was years ago, tell them it was appreciated. Too often we don’t know how much we mean to someone, but let’s change that. Let’s be honest, sincere, and friendly. Let’s not let moments go by where kindness could have been shown.
With technology, we have lost a sense of community. We can bring it back by being intentional and reaching out to others. No one should feel they are going through something alone. If you know of their struggle, don’t just offer to help. Be there for them, and actually help them. Find tangible ways to show you care. Hand written notes. Baked cookies. Picking up the phone and letting them talk. Don’t just think they are “over it” if they act fine. Since you never truly know what someone is going through, start practicing this every day.
Everyone has problems, but if we all show more kindness, maybe we can show someone they matter. If we spend time with people, maybe they will see that their life has meaning. If we rally around them now, maybe we won’t have to find out what it is like to lose them too soon.
Please, don’t ignore a friend who is hurting. You may save their life.
Linking with Holley Gerth