I am not quite sure where to begin. Except to tell you that I check on people like its my job. That isn’t enough though I’ve realized. I need to learn how to support people when checking in isn’t enough.
For once I don’t have a story to tell, words of wisdom to provide, or even uplifting quotes.
What I can tell you is that currently my heart feels fractured. My outlook on life is a bit jaded. My normally positive spirit has been dampened. These are all things I am sure you probably weren’t expecting to hear from me right now, but I am being honest.
This was a heavy week. A week in which two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, committed suicide. Two people who from the outside looking in appeared to be fearless and have the world at their fingertips. Two people who again confirmed for me that envy is a useless emotion.
This has been a heavy last couple of years.
Years which have seen multiple people in both mine and my husband’s lives bright lights extinguished way too soon.
A family friend actually took his own life recently, which shocked us to the core, and made us question how could we have done more.
I have watched my teenage son painfully struggle with the fact that classmates, kids his own age and even younger have experienced the type of pain, helplessness, darkness, bullying, mental illness, depression and more, which have caused them to take their own lives.
The conversation I am now having with them is about how to support people when checking in isn’t enough.
Put down the phone, close the laptop and write a heartfelt letter, note or send a card to a few friends. One of our family’s favorite things to do is leave random words of encouragement for people, whether it is along a sidewalk or surprise notes left for strangers. I recently received a card in the mail from my good friend Brittany (Clumps of Mascara), which I keep in my purse, to remind me I am being thought of.
Make real connections with people, not simply online or superficial ones.
Ask questions, hold genuine conversations and make people feel like you care and they matter.
Pick up the phone instead of sending that text or email so you can actually hear the person on the other end. Pay attention to their tone, inflection and mood. Don’t simply take ok for an answer.
Show up for people and stay true to your word. Take your friend out for a meal, or simply sit quietly next them while watching a movie.
Learn about depression. Talk loudly so even the people in the back can hear you bring this topic to light.
Time to stop hiding behind masks, filters, facades and give people the real us to relate to, not a fake persona to envy.
Use people’s names and look them in the eye when talking. We were at a restaurant once when the server told us how much it meant that our kids used her name and held a conversation with her.
We need to let people know they are seen no matter who they are or what they do. Stop waiting for those who may be struggling to reach out and you start the conversation or knock on their door.
People deserve to know they are loved, respected and needed.
We need to know how to support people when checking in isn’t enough.