Tag Archives: Helping Others

Winter Survival Guide (26) ~ Reach Out and Ask For Help.

It’s a time for giving, a time for receiving…”,

“Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore, faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more, through the years we all will be together…

Can you think of other Christmas songs that warm our hearts with sentiments of togetherness, love, friendship, kinship and cosy happy times?

There are also many other songs, not particularly related to this season that also speak of the bonds we share and our need for one another:

I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…”

“I won’t be afraid, I won’t shed a tear, just as long as you stand, stand by me”

Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on, for it won’t be long till I’m gonna’ need somebody to lean all….I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load, if you just call me….”

We have to realise that we all need each other, and we were created to be that way too. However, we live in an increasingly fractured and individualistic society, where we may feel ashamed or frightened to admit that we are as human as everyone else and need some help, support or friendship.

If you’re in this situation, please receive the encouragement from someone who has been in need and has at various times in my life had to reach out for help when I just couldn’t get through life on my own. It’s normal, it’s ok, and we all need each other. Someday you’ll be the one lending a helping hand, another day you might be the one needing help, life ebbs and flows and changes like the seasons.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, and ask someone. Express what you need and ask for help. Sure, you might not receive a favourable response at all times, but ‘keep asking, seeking and knocking’ and you will come to an open door.

Don’t allow pride to keep you from the help and support that may be readily and generously available to you. Maybe the help you need is something fairly straightforward but that would make a real difference to you – you might be hosting a dinner party, and find that things are getting a bit hard to manage in preparing for it – in that case, why not ask a friend to help you do the cooking, or better still if there are a group of you then ask everyone to bring a dish, ‘pot luck’ style so that the work is shared and you all can spend more time focusing on enjoying each others company?

Your needs might be of a deeper and more serious nature, and in that case I definitely encourage you to please reach out and ask for help. It may be that you are going through a hard time with your mental and emotional health. Even if you don’t know anyone personally to turn to, there will be a doctor, a helpline, an organisation or charity that you can reach out to, to help tide you through this difficult time.

We all need each other, and none of us are meant to go it alone. Don’t talk yourself out of pursuing help if you are in need, simply because someone else has rejected you at some time or another – I’ve been turned down, and refused help when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable, but those people weren’t meant to be the ones to be there for me – others came along and were a real ‘God-send’. Receiving help from others enabled me to eventually get back up on my feet and lean hard into God’s strength so that I don’t need other people in the same way right now and I can use this strength that I have received to help and encourage other people.

If you are struggling to reach out and ask for help, try thinking of it this way – the help you allow yourself to receive today, could lead to the strength you have ‘tomorrow’ (some time in the future) to be the one to support and help someone else. Surely that is worth it?

man and woman near grass field
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Winter Survival Guide (25) ~ Offer to Help.

Helping others is often very good for us too. As the winter season draws in, it is not uncommon with the drop in temperatures, the low light levels, and shorter days for out mood to also drop.

We can become sluggish, lethargic and inwardly focused if we are not careful. Offering to help someone else can help us to keep an outward focus, think about the needs of other people, feel more productive and be more active.

You don’t need to overstretch yourself, but if you are in the position to, why not offer to help someone else with something?

Does your mum need help to organise a family event? Would your wife appreciate your help cooking dinner? Can you pick up some things from the shops for your elderly neighbour while you are doing your own shopping? Can you help a younger brother or sister prepare for their nativity play? Can you help with organising a particular event in your community, or babysit for a friend so that they can get a bit of a break?

Helping others ‘survive’ and thrive this winter can also go a long way to helping ourselves too. x

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One sentence inspiration.

Boundaries can in fact protect relationships and friendships- you need the time and space to look after yourself if you are to be there for others, and to be a positive influence; don’t feel bad for taking care of yourself, it is a good thing for others as well as yourself, but also respect others enough to kindly communicate those boundaries when you can.

bench countryside couple dating
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Lunch bites – bite sized inspiration on your lunch break…

Just as with life more generally, at work we go through changing seasons. There are some seasons that might seem more stressful, where we are working alongside what Ron Swanson from ‘Parks and Recreation’ would term as ‘work proximity associates’ rather than friends.

However, there are also happier and more fulfilling seasons, working alongside people whose company we enjoy and respect and we find that certain colleagues become friends.

It is such a blessing to be able to come into work, knowing that you have even one or two people that you can consider friends.

Therefore, the ‘lunchbite’ for you today comes from something that sprung out of such a work-friend relationship yesterday. I have a friend at work (the only person I work with who has access to my blog – so Hi! 🙂 ) and sometimes we have lunch together. Yesterday we were chatting over lunch about some of the sad and terrible things going on in the world and how much need there is in the lives of people in our city, such as homeless and hungry people, and those suffering in all different kinds of situations.

While we could have just left the conversation there, we decided that as friends and colleagues, we will find a way to collaborate, work together, and do something to help others as the winter season approaches, when many people are in desperate need in the city where we work. This isn’t part of our job roles, but just something we have a common concern about as people, and so as friends we are going to put our heads and resources together to help others. I’m not sharing this to say look at what we are doing, but instead to inspire you to connect with the like minded people around you, some of whom are the people, colleagues and friends you work with.

Instead of letting a conversation about the problems of the world end as just a conversation, decide to use your lunch breaks not only to chat about such things, but to inspire, motivate and encourage each other and work together to make a change, no matter how small that change might seem. One small random act of kindness can mean so much to the person who receives it. So be inspired this lunchtime that you and your colleagues and friends can make a difference, and although we might do this individually, there is something special and powerful and inspiring about working together for the common good.

I wonder what inspiring and motivating things you are going to come up with this lunchtime….? 🙂

working in a group
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Use your broken pieces to build your bridges of hope…

There is no doubt that life can be hard, and at times very hard. I know that each and every one of you reading this will have experienced something in life, however relatively big or small, that will have caused you pain. Perhaps the sting of cruel words, or even feelings of loneliness or being ignored, or maybe some devastating life events. I don’t know your story or your heart, but I know we share in our common humanity, and in this world none of us have a purely trouble free existence. Moreover, I care about you, although we haven’t met.

But today, I encourage you to begin to use your broken pieces for something transformative. Build a bridge that can help someone else cross troubled waters and move forwards in their life. Bridges are only built piece by piece, so don’t feel like your offering, your little stone or pebble is too small…it is the start of something…

For me, today, this blog post is one of my little stones to build a bridge that will hopefully help and encourage someone. I am walking my journey of recovery from post traumatic stress, depression and anxiety as I overcome the painful wounds of childhood bullying that almost devastated my little heart, it messed up my mind, and left me feeling like I didn’t want to be alive anymore. But now, reminding myself how far I have come I remember years ago wanting to someday use my painful experiences to reach out and help someone else…even if that was ‘just’ one…for I was just one. It felt impossible though under the crushing weight of heartache, trauma and helplessness, and perhaps this post isn’t a grand gesture…it isn’t the books I wanted to write to help other people, it isn’t me getting up and speaking in front of a crowd which would still overwhelm and panic me, and it isn’t me traveling the world as a motivational speaker or mentoring bullied kids…yet…but today, I hope my little offering towards my bridge will help and encourage you. Think of one of your broken pieces today, just now, and use it for something new. It can be something like reaching out and comforting someone else who is walking the painful road you walked. It could be paying someone a compliment and using words to heal if you are struggling to overcome words that hurt. It could be noticing and paying attention to someone if you felt ignored and neglected. It could be offering food to someone if you know what it is to go hungry….only you know your road and I pray that your heart will heal a little more today as you think of the bridges you can begin to build.

For me, my life is gradually transforming, little at a time…but it’s not just because I am putting my broken pieces to use, it is because I am putting them in the Hands of my Lord Jesus Who was broken for me, and He Is bringing new Life and beauty in place of ashes, gladness and joy in place of mourning….He, The One Who Loves us most, even if we don’t yet believe in or know Him (for once I didn’t), He Is the One Who truly loves, heals and frees us from deep within. Be blessed. With love to brighten your day. xx

green leafed tree besides body of water during daytime
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Random Acts of Kindness ~ an inspiring thought for the day…

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Picture courtesy of Google Images.

Kindness: noun: kindness

  1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
    “he thanked them for their kindness and support”
    synonyms: kindliness, kind-heartedness, warm-heartedness, tender-heartedness, goodwill, affectionateness, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care;

Source: Google.

The novelist, Henry James, once said: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

The importance of kindness cannot be understated. Nor can it’s power to impact another’s life be underestimated.

You may be familiar with the film ‘Pay It Forward’, in which when a class was asked by their social studies teacher to come up with an idea that will have a positive impact on the world, one little boy, Trevor comes up with the idea of ‘paying it forward’. To pay it forward would mean that if someone does something good for you, instead of ‘paying them back’, you would ‘pay it forward’ to three more people and they in turn would do the same.  A central premise, however, is that the act of kindness would have to be something of significance that the recipient couldn’t do or achieve for themselves.

I think this is a wonderful idea. However, I think acts of kindness don’t have to be ‘big’ or of monumental significance to have a deep and lasting impact on others and ourselves.

In thinking of the idea of ‘RAKs’ or Random Acts of Kindness, I have come to the conclusion that ‘random’ doesn’t need to mean unplanned.

We can have it in our minds and hearts that we will do something for someone even if we don’t know for whom or at what time in the day or week that might be. For example, buying a sandwich or a bottle of water and keeping it ready to give to a homeless person that we might come across.

There are so many ways we can inspire each other to be kind, and to extend that kindness beyond ourselves and our own circle of friends and contacts.

Think about a kindness someone has shown to you. No matter how small. Think about how that made you feel, and don’t underestimate the power of the gift of kindness that you hold in your own hands to give to another.

I remember in school, I had been bullied and was very introverted, shy and had little self esteem. I felt in many ways, dehumanised. Years passed and in my final year of school someone showed me kindness. Not with any monumental act or deed, but in simply taking the time to show that they cared, that I was worth listening to, and getting to know.

It was a real shock to my system, for although I had by that time managed to make a few ‘friends’ I had never before felt that anyone in school actually *cared*. The kindness was quiet, yet palpable. I didn’t know how to accept that someone would want to be kind to me.

And yet, a small gesture ultimately set the wheels in motion for my heart to soften, learn to trust and for my life to change.

My heart is open to giving kindness to others. We may never realise the impact that even a small act of kindness may make not just in someone’s day, but on the trajectory of their whole life. Isn’t that in itself miraculous?

I’d like to encourage you to think about kindness today. How you can be kinder to yourself and to other people. What could you do to reach out or to reconnect?

Here are a few ideas to get you started. And don’t forget to ‘pay it forward’ 🙂 With love, x.

  1. Reach out to a friend that you haven’t connected with for a while.
  2. Write a letter to tell someone that you care.
  3. Give a homeless person a drink or some food.
  4. Write a random note or a postcard to encourage someone and leave it in a library book, in a coffee shop, or somewhere that someone you don’t know will find it.
  5. Tell someone they are wonderful, today.
  6. Be aware of the people around you and whether they need help – the old adage about helping ‘grannies’ across the street, isn’t such a bad one 🙂
  7. Inspire yourself by making your own list of ‘random acts of kindness’ that you can plan to do in the coming month.