Real conversation with real people is one of the ways we grow and learn. Be present where you, are feeling whatever emotions you have, and know that is ok.
No one is a better you than you. And that is a wonderful thing.
Finding a safe and non-threatening way to approach someone we care about and have a meaningful conversation, or to really listen to them, or simply have a coffee, can be a challenge. Even finding a safe way to approach how we look after our own well-being can seem challenging – and we spend every second of every day with ourselves! Be kind, compassionate, and supportive, because we know not what tomorrow will bring.
Sometimes reaching out is hard, so looking for ways of reaching into our friends lives with love is important. I know my sister reaching in when I’m struggling is immensely helpful, even though it can be difficult for me to acknowledge at the time. Without fail I realise later just how helpful it has been.
At a couple of workshops I’ve been to they’ve identified an important stigma that needs to be addressed; “If they know I’m feeling bad and ask me about it, it will make me feel worse.”
Reaching in to someone’s life when they are struggling is ok. Even if they know that’s the reason. The important thing is to let them know you’ve noticed things seem different in a caring way, and that you’re not feeling sorry for them or trying to encourage them to “harden up”.
For me, I know I dislike it when I’m stuck in my hole and people check in or press me a little bit, even in an assertive way. It is only later I realise it’s because they care; and that is important to know. I’m working on identifying when I feel this way, and trying to express it with useful words. This helps me to move past the unhelpful nature of these feelings and accept the advice and assistance offered.
I don’t know how you are feeling right now, but I know there are people who care and appreciate the goodness and light you have brought to the world, are bringing to the world, and will continue to bring in the future.
We all experience mental distress in different ways. Maybe we engage coping mechanisms that have worked in the past but no longer work the same way. Sometimes our toolbox doesn’t have what we need yet, or maybe the tool takes time to work, or maybe it’s unknown distress and we need to ride it out as best we can for a time. At different times we will find ourselves travelling these different pathways.
I am thankful of the awareness and perceptive noticing of others, those who care and reach in when they see someone in distress. Walking beside, and empowering them to believe in themselves and accept help offered when they are able. We can all be good, caring humans, and make the world better for having us be in it. If we choose kindness, the world around us will be a liveable place where we, and those around us, have the potential to thrive.
My brother and sister are so good to me it makes it easy to want to pay kindness forward, and continue doing so.
A major part of my previous job was actively learning this about sort of stuff. Remembering everybody is a person, no matter how difficult we think they’re being as a flatmate, or how sad we think they might be, or how difficult it might be to say hi to some. Reaching out is hard, so sometimes reaching in is a necessity, to let a friend know something is different, to encourage healthy awareness of self and others. Checking in on friends, family members, colleagues, and even people we see as we walk down the street is an empathetic human reaction and sometimes is the catalyst for lifting them up. Maybe right then, maybe not. Maybe in five minutes, maybe in a month, maybe in five years.
Have your behaviour be memorable for the right reasons, even if your name eludes memory. Key to remember when someone is struggling is: “It’s not about me.” Offer support and try not to be angry or annoyed if right now it isn’t accepted. Maybe now is not the right time for this human to accept it, but hopefully it’s the first step on the road to accepting help in the future, when they need and are ready to receive it. You may have planted a seed of care that was not there before, one which will grow into more than you thought it could. Maybe they will pay this kindness forward in the future to others, and step by step we will heal our broken world.
In any situation, it’s about keeping our eyes open, when we are able, and offering kindness into the spaces we see that need it.