On Reaching Out

"Holding Hands" by Melvin_es on Flickr

Reach out to others.

Acknowledge their feelings.

Share their struggles.

Share your struggles.

Ask for help.

Help others.

About five years ago, I was at a friend’s house for a get together with several other friends.  While we were there, I noticed something didn’t seem quite right with her.  I didn’t know what, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I also noticed that something seemed off between her and her husband.  I had a really strong urge to ask her about it or send her a card letting her know that I was thinking about her.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t do anything.

Several months later, I was experiencing a really difficult time in my own life.  Through a chain of events, this same friend ended up at my house, and I confided in her.  I talked with her about what I was going through and my feelings about it.  She confided in me that she had experienced something similar several months prior to that.  Yes, the night I was at her house and sensed something wasn’t right was right in the middle of her crisis.  Call it what you want.  Instincts, coincidence, God.  Because of my religious views I tend to think it was God urging me to reach out to a friend in need.  I didn’t though.  I thought she might think it was weird.  So, I just didn’t.  I let my fear of what she might think keep me from reaching out to a friend who really needed a hand.  I’ve apologized.  She accepted.  But, I still remember how I felt when I realized everything that had happened.

Since then, I’ve been trying to do a better job letting friends and others know if I appreciate them, if I’m thinking of them, or anything else I might be feeling.  Recently, someone did the same thing for me.  After I led a meeting, someone from the meeting approached me and let me know she enjoyed the meeting.  She also thanked me for my work in making everyone feel welcome.  It came at just the right time for me as I’d been feeling frustrated with certain parts of leadership for the group, and I’d also been wondering how to make the meetings more inclusive.  It gave me the motivation to dig in again and keep on working.

That’s just one example, but I know that there are many from all our lives.  More honest communication is almost always better.  I’m sure there’s a point of too much honesty, 🙂 but I don’t think many of us are there yet.

So, today or tomorrow or the next time you feel the urge, reach out to someone.  Let them know how you feel.  Encourage them, ask for help, or do whatever is right for you.  But, do it.  Don’t let fear or pride stop you.  It’s worth it.

Comments

  1. I love this. 🙂

    I think that the world would be a much better place if we reached out more. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

  2. What a great reminder! Sometimes I hesitate, too, but I’ve never regretted trying to help someone who needed it. I think we’re so often afraid of being rude or taking risks or seeming weird that it can be hard to look beyond ourselves to see that others are just that afraid, or to see that others are in pain, too.

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