I have had a lot of positives lately and have reached out to people and have had people reach out to me.
It doesn't take anything elaborate to change a life. A simple "hello" and a smile to a stranger you pass, or smiling at other drivers. Give compliments where they're deserved. Let people know they are appreciated. Invite someone to hang out. Tell the truth. Let people know how you feel. Be loyal.
I have recently had several occasions where I've felt completely hopeless. Overwhelmed, lonely, jealous, neglected, unloved, forgotten, angry, sad, anxious, irritated, sick, and almost gave in and took the pain of all of those emotions and let them consume me until I died.
Two people on two separate occasions unknowingly saved my life. I don't know if they know who they are, or if they know what they did. It got me thinking, "how would it feel to find out that you saved a life by offering the smallest gesture, and you did it unknowingly?" That's a very powerful feeling.
We never know what everyone is going through. Honestly, a lot of people don't understand mental illness. That's ok. As a person, you don't need to understand another person's mental status to show love and spread happiness. We can know someone so very deeply and still know nothing about the monster inside telling them to hurt themself. My theory is simple: since we don't know who is in crisis, smile at people, hold doors, compliment, be genuine, love freely, help someone with groceries. Smile at the fussy babies you see in the store. Smile at their mom or dad or whoever is with them, share a simple "so cute!" And reach out to one another.
If you're the person in crisis, reach out. It's hard. It sucks, and some people won't listen. Find a way to interact with the outside world, because in your own head, it's dark and scary and not honest. Sometimes reaching out is simply stepping outside and saying hi to a neighbor, mailman, or other passersby. It's a step. Little steps count. I'm told that little steps eventually grow into bigger steps. It's the most difficult and painful thing to do. Social anxiety is the most difficult task I'm working on. Walking up to a stranger crying in the tampon aisle and asking if they're ok, opens Windows for both people. It creates the ability for dialogue and support.
Show your kids how to smile and be nice. Noah was home sick one day and we went into Walgreens. There was a lady and gentleman who appeared upset about blood pressure cuffs and the customer service they had received. The cashier called a manager when the lady sat on the floor having an anxiety attack. I don't know how, but I started talking to her and listened to why they were upset and she calmed down and was able to effectively speak to the manager. Noah and I left the store and when we got in the car he said "That was very nice. I think you healed her." I was taken by surprise because it's not always common for me to just talk to strangers. In that moment I realized that not only had I helped the couple, but I helped myself by feeling like I did all that I could to help, and Noah learned that just by listening to someone you can make a difference. It's an empowering feeling knowing that you possibly changed the outcome of someone else's day and it didn't cost anything.
Instead of being closed off, open yourself to what matters most-- making a change, no matter how small, can be the start of something bigger.