I have a longtime friend. We’ve never grown to be particularly close, but we’ve always been distant supporters of each other – familiar, respectful, sweet acquaintances. I see them in public, share a word, a laugh, but we leave the extent of our interactions at that. Because when people stay in your life for a long time, and you never let them in, and they never let you in, it’s easy to take them for granted, to let these people fade to the background of your life’s picture. But this shouldn’t be common – people shouldn’t be going about things forgetting those around them.
Recently, this friend of mine confided in me that, lately, they’ve been struggling. While there were some emotional struggles we did not share, we realized that we both have really similar social struggles and reflections, which opened the door to a really meaningful, honest, and intimate conversation. Not only were we able to finally let each other in, but I also absorbed an extremely valuable lesson – it’s not improbable that someone around you is struggling, even those who you imagine might not be struggling at all. Kindness has the power to lift these struggles into a hopeful light, one that can make someone believe again. Everyone is deserving of that, deserving of kindness.
I find it, unfortunately, extremely common that people will forget about others, that people will forget those around us are also people, with whole worlds and thoughts and ideas surrounding them. Even I’m guilty of forgetting people sometimes, leaving the only answer for me and many others to be: awareness. To be conscious of the times in which we forget to include people, forget to consider someone, forget to go the extra mile to let them know they aren’t alone, and fix these forgetful moments. In the end, one of the most important things we are tasked with doing in our lives is looking out for each other. And looking out to make sure that people don’t have to feel alone is a meaningful part of that natural obligation.
Whether it be a kind phone call, a check-in with a friend, or simply holding someone’s hand and expressing your appreciation to them, reach out to your friends, family, and any of the people around you, in your life. Let these people know that they’re appreciated, that they’re not alone, and that you are someone they can count on. Struggling or not, a symptom of the human existence is a need for connection – what harm would it do to reach out and give that to somebody?