My heart is broken-I am shaken to my core.
Picking up a prescription, I overheard a teenage girl explaining why she was on a laundry list of medications. The reason; she had just been released from the hospital after checking herself in on a 51/50 hold. If you don't know what that is, it is usually an involuntary psychiatric hold for those that are in danger of hurting themselves or others. This brave girl couldn't have been older than 17 or 18 with a hurt so intense that she admitted herself. Heart broken.
This is where it gets awkward. My heart and mind race back and forth between empathetic action and conforming social norms. There is what I wanted to do and there is what I did do.
I wanted to grab her and hug her and tell her that she matters. I wanted her to know that if she could just push past, there is an amazing life ahead. I wanted to let her know that she is valued and she is worthy of love, caring and belonging. I wanted to cry with her and I wanted to hear her story. I wanted to give her perspective and show her that she is needed. I wanted to tell her how brave she was for getting help and reaching out. I wanted to let her know that she will, in fact, be ok.
But I didn't. I couldn't. All I could do was get in my car and cry. All I could do was create the above quote and share it out. All I could do was think about all of those in her same situation. Those who were not fortunate enough to reach out for help, but so desperately needed it. All I could do was reach out to some of those I care about, and let them know I care. All I could do was try to figure out a way in which to help.
We can all help. We can help by being vocal. We can help by letting others know their worth. That they matter. That they have a purpose. That they are loved. That they are worthy of care and belonging. We don't share enough. Why? Why is this not the norm? Why are people uncomfortable letting others know how they feel? Why is showing emotion, taboo? How is that working for us? Based on the stories I have born witness to, not very well. So let's try something different.
Think about those people that you encounter daily...students, colleagues, friends, family, neighbors, enemies, strangers. They all have a story...they are all dealing with their own truths. We have no idea of knowing what is going on in someone's head or in someone's heart. In this, we do not have any control. What we do have control over is how we interact with others. We may just be the ONLY interaction someone has that day- what do you want that mark to be?
But here is the thing. If we are going to do this, we need to be authentic in it. It needs to come from a vulnerable, caring place. There is nothing worse than inauthentic words- they have the complete opposite effect. We also need to be utterly in tune to the receiver. In this instance- if I would have inserted myself into this young girl's conversation, it would not have worked. I did not know her, she did not know me. In fact, I was just an outsider who happened to hear. Would things have gone differently if she was conversing with me? Absolutely! Would she have received what I wanted to say? That is unknown. So...
My call to action is this: Let us live our lives with intent. Let our actions and words help to lift others up. They are free but have incredible power. Let's use that power for good. You don't know how many stories I have heard about how someone's kind words or actions have changed the trajectory of someone's day-- or life. #choosekind
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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