Merriam-Webster defines helping as “to give assistance or support to someone.” Dictionary says it is “giving aid, assistance, support, or the like.” The other day as I was walking my dog Bella, a neighbor and I chatted. The focus of our conversation was about ongoing horrific events and what actions could we take that would be helpful in lives of others. She was going to the grocery store so I suggested perhaps she offer to return someones grocery cart and smile at people as she shopped. She shared she smiles at everyone all the time, recalling a time when someone stopped to thank her for smiling at her. The person shared the smile from my neighbor was the only smile she had experienced that day.
“A little help, a little kindness. It’s not much but helps others and goes farther than you think.” Unknown
As I was walking home with Bella in a portion of the road there was a glass container that had smashed. Chunky pieces of glass were all over. I focused on getting far away from it while I walked, looking for glass, as I did not want Bella to step on it. I returned home, making a decision to go back and pick up the glass. I gathered a broom, dustpan, and bag to sweep the road to gather the glass. People walking or droving by commented about whomever had done this, striking a cord with me. About times I had sang in the chorus of unhelpful comments and negativity which left me feeling crappy. Today my focus was on taking an action that was helpful so no person, animal, bicycle, or car was impacted by going over the glass. This felt much better in many ways.
“If you light a lamp for someone it will brighten your path.” Buddha
I have evolved over the years, usually through incredibly painful liberating moments. Struggling intensely like a butterfly who is fighting to free their new wings from a cocoon and has to do this all by their butterfly self. When I became free I realized a few things. Sometimes I would hesitate to help someone. Should I help, what can I do, what if they don’t want my help, maybe someone else will help. Turning on the shame shower in my head about the person, perhaps I did not like them, judging them for their actions. At times I would rush in to help and direct their actions according to what I would do. I now live simply. I help people. No more shame showers for others which I bathed in, no more according to how I would handle things, even though I have great ideas, just saying. I smile at people, freely give out compliments when I am out and about. If I see a car with flashers on the side of the road I call 911, I pick up garbage as I walk, and for others I will buy flowers, bake a treat, hold space for them by listening and being with them and ask if I can offer some suggestions of an action they could take. I will check in with people to see how they are doing. Offering how can I help. Each day.
“We can’t heal the world today, but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an action of kindness.” Mary Davis
This simplicity in living my life has cleared out so much clutter in my brain. I am emotionally freer and happier with myself. There is tons of research that scientifically shows helping others is good for us mentally, physically, emotionally. I know on a personal level living my daily life with a purpose of how can I help has made me a happier, healthier human. Each one of us has the ability to help others in our own special manner. All of us are the helpers in the world, changing lives with smiles, kind words, and more. Each one of us has the ability to influence lives in positive ways with our actions. My neighbors friendly smile uplifted a stranger. So could yours.
May you how can I help be with you💜