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.