The Importance of Reaching Out
The Importance of Reaching Out…..
With the news of Robin Williams taking his life this past week I have found myself filled with questions and in discussion with friends and family about this tragic loss. There are many views on suicide and whether or not it is a selfish choice made by someone who believed it’s the only way out of the darkness or the result of feeling that death is the only way to lighten the burden of those we love, the truth of the matter is it’s devastatingly tragic. My heart aches for those left behind trying to find answers to the questions brought about by the sudden life changing tragedy.
As I climbed on the exercise bike at the gym on Saturday I searched for a movie to watch while I pedaled through the 13 miles ahead of me. As I opened up my Amazon video choices a Robin Williams concert was at the top of the suggestions. A child of the 70’s and 80’s I remember watching Williams as he played Mork and admired his ability to fall in and out of a character quickly. As I began to pedal, Williams appeared on the screen larger than life and full of energy. There he was the funny man, making everyone laugh and forget about their own troubles for a while when we now know he was battling his own debilitating illness; depression was tearing away at his soul while he soothed ours with laughter. How difficult was it, I wonder, for him to put on his happy face and literally pretend to be happy and filled with joy? He became skilled at hiding behind the mask of deception making the world believe all was well. Allowing a sneak peak at his personal struggles throughout the years I believe we (the general public) ignored the tough stuff because quite frankly the tough stuff isn’t much fun. It’s easier to laugh and hide than face the struggles and cry. We tend to believe that sharing our struggles makes us weak; I disagree.
Plato once said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. Thinking about this and battles I face in my own life I am grateful for those who extend a helping hand, share a smile or a word of encouragement. I believe that my Creator created us to live in community; in fellowship with one another. In fact, I believe that we are our brother’s keeper; whether we want to be or not. Filling our lives with purpose and meaningful work will not only help us through our own difficult times but ease the struggles of those around us.
After discussing the importance of dedicating ourselves to helping others with a close friend this week, he sent me the following quote: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”. Those few words strung together shared between friends have the power to change a life. For the one reaching out to help it allows them to lose themselves in service to another and to the receiver of the kind act it restores hope and establishes a sense of importance and relevance. During one of my tough days earlier this year as I battled my food addiction that same friend sent me a note of encouragement willing me not to give up or give in to the addiction; “you’re relevant, worth the effort. Keep it going. You can do this.” Those few words gave me the courage to keep fighting that day and not give in to the destruction that is my addiction. Last week I was able to do the same thing for a relative stranger in the gym. Passing on the kindness shared with me to her pushed her to keep going and opened up the doors to a new friendship.
I encourage you to reach out to others with small acts of kindness knowing that everyone you meet is facing some sort of battle. It may be that one small thing you do will help turn their lives around or bring them a bit of joy in a less than joyful time in their lives. As we turn our focus from ourselves and begin to dedicate our time and talents to helping others we will find that our own healing takes place. In closing I share with you the words of Mother Teresa “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Being kind is not difficult; it’s necessary.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!