make it your job to spread some love today

IMG_5744Having empathy is not enough.  Feeling for another person doesn’t mean much – unless you show – somehow in your words and behaviour – that your heart is open to another person and their experience.

Lauren Casper’s essay, When someone saw more to the story reminded me of this.  That young lady that gave Lauren flowers will never even how that simple kindness meant the world to her.  It never takes much – only the courage to extend out and connect with another human being.

It reminded me of all the simple kindnesses that have been demonstrated to me as a mother over the years.  I distinctly and fondly recall all the people told me that my baby with Down syndrome was beautiful.  I also choose to remember all the knowing smiles in the mall (not the people who look away when they see my son).  Let love win.

For health professionals:  Nobody knows how much you care about your patients unless you demonstrate it through your words and your actions – a touch on the shoulder, a hug, holding someone’s hand.  An added bonus for health:  people who feel cared for will care for themselves.

For parents:  Your kids don’t know you love them unless you tell them and show them.  And you don’t withdraw your love because your kid is making choices that you don’t approve of.  I’ve sadly seen parents do this over and over again, especially with their young adult children.  The same goes for spouses and partners.  You cannot assume someone knows that you love them, even if you’ve been together for a very long time.  (That’s my plug for my husband to bring me flowers).

When you see a mom with little kids struggling in the grocery store, thinking to yourself, ‘oh man, I’ve been there’ isn’t enough.  Make eye contact with her and smile.  Ask if you can give her a hand.  If she says no, that’s ok – you’ve demonstrated that you care in a non-judgmental way.  I’m famous for letting moms of young children in front of me in line at the grocery store.  In fact, I let anyone with a small order in line in front of me, as my grocery cart is usually filled to the brim.   People are shocked when I invite them to bump me in line, and it such an easy gesture.  It costs me nothing.

What if you told a mom friend who is floundering that she’s doing an awesome job and you know she loves her kids so much?  What if you allowed yourself to be vulnerable and admit that you, too, have yelled at your kids, and locked yourself in the bathroom to get away from them?

When my eldest moved away to LA in the fall, the one thing I was desperate to know from him was this:  do you know that you are loved?   And he said yes.  As Raymond Carver says, we want to feel beloved in the world – but we won’t feel this way unless people tell us AND show us.

Make it your job to spread some love today. xo

 

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