As I’ve talked about on several occasions, the past couple of years for us have been full of challenges: our son’s cancer, autism, personal health issues, and general things that come with being alive. I wanted to share a practice that has helped me through it.
When I’ve been down, I’ve tried to remember to engage in the practice of building others up. I’ve not always been the best at this, of course. I get into periods of withdrawal and feeling sorry for myself. In other words, I’ve been normal.
But when you’re down, isolating yourself is the worst thing you can do. It feels natural to withdraw into a tight little ball, and it’s hard to find the energy to break out of it.
I’m not saying you have to go out and bake a bunch of desserts for people or anything. I’m also not saying you need to turn into Pollyanna. I’m suggesting something much simpler, because when you’re down, you need to keep it simple.
What I do is just send a message or post a comment to friends on Facebook who I know are struggling. A sentence or two, nothing complicated. You can try an email or a phone call, too. You can say something encouraging to another parent at school. Definitely say something kind to another autism parent in the store if you see them.
How does this help? It gets us outside of ourselves. It makes life not just about us. It puts our problems and challenges into perspective.
And it does feel good. I think it feels good because it connects us with another human being at a fundamental level, a level where we need each other for support and comfort. Support flows both ways once that connection is made.
As you become a person who encourages others, other people readily do the same for you. It’s a circle of support that builds all of us up.
It doesn’t take much. A kind word here, a note of encouragement there – it means everything to the one who receives it. All you have to do is think about how much it’s meant to you when someone has encouraged you like that. This is why I’m a Facebook fan. It makes connections like this so readily available.
Today, send three little messages or comments of encouragement to people you know need it. Hold them in your heart and thoughts for a couple of minutes and write them a note. It makes a world of difference.