Have you ever seen the old B & W movie, It’s a Wonderful Life? Although it is 50+ years old, the message still rings true today. You never know how many lives you touch. Your words and actions can have a profound effect on others’ lives in a way that you have never imagined. You are changing the world every day just by being here and just by being you.
So we need to be thoughtful. Be present. In every situation. We need to listen before we respond. To think before we respond. Especially in times of struggle. People will seek us out because of our innate wiring for emotional understanding. Sensitive people will know what someone else is feeling and know that people in pain are in a state of high alert tuned into judgment or empathy. They will hear what we are saying deeply, so say it with compassion and care. They will feel our touch or our actions deeply, so respond in a caring but non-intrusive manner. We are there to bear witness and help, but it is not our wound to heal. As much as we would like to, we can’t take the pain of another away. So what can we do? Listen – a lot. Offer compassion. Give advice when asked. What you say and do will matter greatly in these moments.
One’s presence and words will have a ripple effect that is never fully known by the speaker (just like George in the movie). Example – I was at a school event having a side conversation with another mother. She asked me if I was okay. I said no that my recent miscarriage was really tough. She asked me if we would try again. I said I didn’t know. She looked directly into my eyes to get my full attention. “You don’t want to be 86 and wonder what would have happened if you tried again….” These words stuck with me, and I repeated them in my head many times. They influenced me in a way that she never knew. I chose courage and hope, and we did try again, and I did have another child.
What you do and say in everyday encounters matters. “To find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson