Have Faith in People

In January 2016, someone shared their problems with me and while it was not clear to them at first, this process of openness and self-reflection helped them realise that life was worth living. The more we spoke, the more he realised that we should never allow failure to push us around; to make us give up.

Life was never meant to be easy. It was also never meant to be lived alone.

pretty-351884_1280

Sometimes we keep our problems from people because we don’t believe they care enough about us. We lose the opportunity to create a much deeper relationship with those who might know or understand what we are going through.

Herman Melville once said, “We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

Yet in our culture now, there is a lot more social isolationism than was the case in the past. While new technologies have helped us connect with people in distant lands, it seems that people are lonelier than ever before.

There are those who do not have faith in people because getting to know someone involves an element of risk.

What if they reject you?

What if they hurt you?

What if they betray you?

As such, some people are choosing to believe – either consciously or subconsciously – that forming a connection with someone and sharing their life story with them is not worth the risk.

Danger of Loneliness and Social Isolationism

The Oxford online dictionary defines a companion as “A person who shares the experiences of another, especially when these are unpleasant or unwelcome.”

man-1156543_1280

According to the American Psychological Association, Social Psychologist Shelly Turkle, PhD., says in her book ‘Alone Together’ that social media relationships “…can provide the ILLUSION of companionship without the demands of friendship, without the demands of intimacy.”

In the end, everybody ultimately needs someone. There has to be a real connection, though, not just a number of social media followers. A captain needs a co-captain. A president needs a vice president. Spouses need each other. This is why many people are falling into the trap of loneliness. They find themselves feeling all alone, like no one in the world cares about them. As such, they retreat deeper and deeper into the depths of loneliness and depression.

Perhaps we are so bogged down in our own lives that we fail to look up and see what others are going through. Perhaps, at other times, we fail to see that the conversation we are postponing at a particular moment could be pivotal to another’s life. It happens ALL THE TIME.

You see it whenever someone commits suicide, the family and friends are always left asking the same questions:

“Is there something I could have done to prevent this?”

“Maybe I could have spent a little more time with them.”

“Perhaps I should have listened more instead of talking all the time.”

“How did I miss the signs?”

“Why didn’t they come to me for help?”

Great friends make a great support system. Notice, for example, how many celebrities fail in their careers or turn to drug and alcohol abuse because no one helps them cope with their fame.

Without taking a leap of faith, you never know whether a person has your best interests at heart. There are very amazing people out there. Watching the news, you might feel like everyone only cares about themselves. Stories about jealousy, murder, theft, and violence are pervasive in our news media. Yet, if you look beyond this, the beauty of the human race continues to shine through.

One crazy example I noticed was that despite robbers pretending there has been a road accident so you can pull over to help and get carjacked, people continue falling for it because we all desire to help others.

Are You Someone People Can Have Faith In?

picnic-1208229_1280

The people in your support system should have the following characteristics:

  • They are great listeners.
  • They care about you.
  • They try to see things through your perspective.
  • They are there when you call.
  • They are eager to see you prevail over any problems.
  • They are people you can trust to keep your secrets.

Having such a committed group of people in your corner will help you overcome whatever circumstances life throws at you. Nevertheless, you can’t focus on only what you get from the relationship. This is why networking doesn’t work for some business professionals. They care so much about what they are going to get from a partnership that they forget about what they are bringing to the table. You want to have someone you can lean on. However, are you the type of person that other people can lean on?

The R U OK? Movement says that in order to become someone that other people can turn to when they have problems, you have to go beyond the answer, “I am fine.” Once you start taking this approach, you start becoming a source of support. You also get to grow because you start developing a perspective of what is important in your own life. The next time you have a problem, guess who will be eager to help you get through it?

With all this in mind, it is time to start seeing the world through the prism that people are inherently good and they are ready to help you, especially if you ask for it. Being alone is a choice. Have faith in people and reach out. They will respond positively to you. Though some people might reject you or dismiss your problems, you will eventually find someone who sticks closer than a brother does. They will do their best to help you get to the end of your journey.

As an old Tibetan proverb says, “As I helped him up the hill, lo, I found myself at the top.”

 

 

Advertisements

Do You Have ‘Bounce Back’ Ability?

I was recently surprised by someone’s actions. One day they were sad, not psyched up to do anything – either feeling lazy or just unwilling to get out of bed; then the next day they were buzzing around full of energy.

It might not be a remarkable feat since many people do that and have done that before. What piqued my curiosity is how some people are able to pick themselves up while others wallow in their sadness till it trickles into other areas of their lives. Next thing you know, they are sucking the joy out of an engaging conversation or they are complaining about how life has been unfair to them.

Which person are you: the one that wallows or the one that picks themselves up? Where do these positive people get this bounce back ability and how can you get this trait today?

trampoline-71548_1280

Life is full of roses…and thorns!

I have said it before, life can be difficult. You hear all these motivation gurus say that the world is your mirror and if you are being negative then you will attract negative stuff into your life. In truth, life just happens. Even the most positive people get unexpected curveballs in their lives.

For instance, you get a phone call from the office telling you to come and pick up your stuff because you’ve been laid off. Then they insult you by saying it’s not that you were doing a bad job, it’s just the economy is in shambles. How do you respond to that? What if you have a family and they were counting on that pay check? What if you had just taken a loan and now you don’t have the income to pay it back? What if you had a medical condition and being employed helped you tap into the health insurance cover your employer provided. Where do you get the money now?

While all this is hypothetical, there are people who have gone through such problems; probably even worse. It is in stories such as these that you discover whether you have a bounce back ability or not. Some people lie down and complain about the problems they are facing. They go around looking for an audience to hear their sob stories. In time, they refine their stories to the point that deep down they enjoy sharing it. Other people try to get back up as quickly as possible.

Here is how you can bounce back:

  1. Don’t let yourself wallow

I’ve read before that if you are feeling sad you should allow yourself to feel sad and that it will eventually ebb away. Some of us look for every excuse to listen to our favourite sad songs. The musicians just seem to understand exactly what we are going through. But isn’t life too short to spend it being sad? Wouldn’t you rather be smiling?

Recently, I’ve discovered this principle that while feelings cause actions, actions can also cause feelings. For instance, if you are sad (feeling) you are likely to listen to sad music (action). However, if you listen to uplifting music (action) you are going to be happier (feeling). Try it out.

Writers and people in other creative professions understand this concept well. If you don’t feel like writing, you will stare at your Microsoft Word for hours. But if you decide to start writing something anyway, you will start feeling psyched up to write even more than you had originally planned and the words will keep flowing.

  1. Take out the emotion and understand your problem

Simply put, you can’t fight against what you don’t understand. For those who’ve had a big problem such as being fired unexpectedly, it usually comes as a hammer blow. Your emotions are all over the place. What’s worse, fear starts to kick in spinning all types of tales about your imminent demise. It is a bad place to be mentally.

If you can somehow strip away all the emotions you are feeling and confront your problem with solutions in mind, you will be able to come to terms with your situation.

For instance, if you’ve lost your job, here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Figure out what you are good at e.g. perhaps this is your chance to become a freelancer in writing, a consultant, a businessman, a salesman, develop a product from home etc.
  • If your quality of work led to you being fired, come up with ideas on how to tackle that problem so that it doesn’t threaten your next job.
  • Could you go back to school to improve your credentials?
  • Had you been planning to take a break from work to go on a sabbatical or extended holiday?
  • Do you have a connected network that can help you get a new job?

These are all ideas that can take the emotion out and help you focus on solutions.

  1. Go for counselling

There is a stigma around seeking support through counselling sessions no matter what problem you are facing.

Counselling should not always be used as a last resort.

It helps you get out of your head and see your problems from a different perspective. You get to speak to someone who is concerned about your well-being and wants to see you get back on your feet again. Most importantly, you get to share your thoughts and fears in a non-judgemental environment. Going for counselling can help you bounce back sooner than you would have if you did it alone.

Plus, it doesn’t always have to be a professional counsellor. Maybe you have someone who cares for you and always gives you an ear when you need advice. Seek them out and share with them. As I always say, be there for others also. If you see someone who you think is struggling with a problem, reach out to them and offer to help them find solutions.

boxers-919232_1280

  1. Take it on the Chin

Unfortunately, the more you go through negative situations and come out of them ‘alive’, you build character which helps you every time you face adversity. Bounce back ability is a learned trait.

What happened the first time you fell off your bike? You had to get up and try again till you finally got it. That is true of life. You will face different tough situations and each time you will have to decide whether you will shy away or you will take on the problem head on. The more you face your demons, the greater your bounce back ability will become.

  1. Have faith

I am reminded of the story of the origin of the Christian song ‘It is well with my soul’. This man put his family on a ship and was going to meet up with them later but then received word that the ship had capsized. What a devastating moment! But do you know what happened when his ship got to the spot where his family had died? He wept for them and wrote “It is well; it is well with my soul”. You can imagine all the pain he felt at that moment. Yet he spoke from a point of faith that everything will be okay.

It would be a lie if I said that you won’t have scars; that you won’t face overwhelming battles. That is just part of life. The key is to have faith that everything will be okay in the end. As motivational speaker Les Brown says, “It is much easier to have faith when everything is going well.” But it is in those moments when you are afraid, when you are in pain, when you are beaten down that you have to find a way to have faith. Once you lay hold of it and believe in a positive outcome, you are able to cope with whatever you are facing.

All these tips will help you as you develop your bounce back ability. Just remember, even fighters who are champions get hit from time to time. The only difference is they keep coming back over and over again until their problem (the other fighter) is defeated. You can bounce back as well!