The Brave Human
I have a friend who is going through a tough time, and he was brave enough to share his experience on Facebook and ask for help. The post was raw, honest, and human. He spoke of pain and diminished mental health due to a combination of anxiety, depression, and the brutal withdrawal symptoms of quitting alcohol. He needed a friend and someone to tell him that better days were ahead.
I read the post and immediately reached out to my friend. My heart ached. And then a day later came the apology for what he characterized as over-sharing. My instinct was to tell him never to apologize for who he is and for asking for help. Thankfully others followed suit. And, for a brief moment, restored my faith in humanity. But then I began to question: What is wrong with society that someone would feel the need to apologize for sharing? For asking for help?
Putting the Human Back in Humanity
We seem to have forgotten that there are real people (humans) behind all of these feelings and emotions. Caught up in social media and screens, the concepts of kindness, caring, and compassion sometimes fall by the wayside. So what can each of us do to bring a little light back into the world?
Ask How Someone is Doing and Really Listen
All too often people ask how we are, only to tune us out if we share bad news. Few are interested in hearing the truth. Many are uncomfortable hearing anything beyond, “Everything is great!” We as humans crave connectivity. We need to be able to share our emotions, to be honest and vulnerable. We need to be able to rely on others for a helping hand or a listening ear. So the next time you are talking with a friend, a co-worker, or even another parent at drop-off, ask how s/he is doing and listen, really listen. Ask follow-up questions. How can you help? Let him or her know that you care.
Realize that it Takes a Village
There is no shame in asking for help. The need for help comes in many shapes and sizes. You may need physical help in changing your tire. You may need financial help in paying a bill. Or you may need emotional help and support in getting through a difficult time in your life. As the Beatles so eloquently put it, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Do not be afraid to ask for help, but more importantly be brave enough to give it.
Set the Example
I am a firm believer in social responsibility, in leaving this Earth a better place than what we inherited. Model social awareness and inclusiveness. Be kind, caring, and compassionate to everyone. Children learn from observing those behaviors, and with any luck we just may raise a generation that puts the human back into humanity, one that is brave enough to show love.