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Kind gestures are never wasted and we are constantly reminded in life of how we are fundamentally social beings living in a community.  This has never been more important than now when we have come through a potentially concerning time, been forced into a form of isolation and, in many cases, have needed to rely on the goodwill of others to reach out to us in support.

Whether we want to be part of a community or not, we need each other.  Some enjoy the isolation, some need the social stimulation, but for us all to exist, we rely on exchange of one sort or another – whether it is food, energy or just a friendly smile to lift our day.

Low moods are part of the human condition and each of us has experienced loneliness or a particular kind of mental challenge at one time or another.  At those times, look at how you have been supported.  Have you received a smile or a kindly gesture from another?  How did it make you feel at the time?

I came across such an incidence a few weeks back on a local neighbourhood app on my mobile phone.  A lady commented how she had gone into the supermarket feeling very low but someone complimented her that morning and it was enough to lift her out of the doldrums and bring a smile to her face and, she said, it made all the difference.

It doesn’t take much to lift our moods sometimes; a friendly ear to listen, a smile from a stranger, an offer of help of one kind or another.  As Charles Dickens once wrote, “no one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another”.

At this time of ever-increasing chaos, flaring tempers and reported injustices, why don’t we start practicing lifting each other up rather than tearing each other down.  It’s so easy to criticise and complain and jump on the bandwagon of others’ miseries and observations.  Instead, we could turn it around by being more motivational, inspiring, compassionate and encouraging others to grow and changing our perspective to see the positive.  The more we give time to serve others, the more it takes the focus off our own selves and the troubles of the world, and helps us to feel we are contributing to society and especially to our own community.

We can never fix another and nor should we try to.  What we can do is offer support, freedom to express themselves, hold space and empowerment.  People rarely feel listened to, in my experience, and we rush in with our own opinions, judgements and feelings too readily sometimes.  Just being present with someone and giving them an opportunity to be or express themselves is often the best support you can give and the most loving thing you can do.  Without love there is no support for another and we are all fundamentally loving beings.  Who will you support today?

Written for and published by the AD&T Press, 18th September 2020 by Caroline Cousins