“In order to give love, we must receive love; as we receive love, we learn to love ourselves; and as we love ourselves, we have so much more love to give.”
The past months have served as a stark reminder of a truth I’ve long known but needed to know again: We need each other. We truly cannot do it alone. What is “it,” you may ask? Life. From loss to depression, to holidays to successes, to serving to needing to be served, I’ve been faced with this truth once more these past months–that we belong to one another, and that alone, we fail, we suffer, we fall.
Family, Friends, & Support: We Need Each Other
I don’t want any of us to fall. I want each of us to feel loved, supported, and uplifted. I want each of us to know we are not alone. I want each of us to reach out for help when we need it, and especially to let help in. I want us to remember that, as human beings, we are one. We are connected. We are not separate, and we certainly cannot do life alone.
10 Crucial Ways to Be there for Each Other
How? How do we ensure we are completing the cycle of giving and receiving love? How do we ensure we’re actually there for each other, that we’re doing what we must to support one another? Here are 10 things we can do, which I believe are crucial to “being there.” Pick at least one; then, make sure you do it today.
1) Be there for one another through the hard times. It seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve learned that many of us struggle to be there when times get tough for our loved ones. We don’t know what to do, or to say, so we do and say nothing. We mustn’t do this. A few months ago, I shared my struggles with depression. It even prompted my “Many Faces of Depression” series, because I was so tired of no one saying or doing anything. Even after I posted my story, only a couple of close friends said anything to me about it, but oh what a difference their support has made to me. Then, the past few weeks, I’ve been first caring for a sick family, and then down with strep myself while also launching my new book, Who Am I Without You and completing the manuscript for my third book, all within a couple of days of each other! Add to that three snow days in a row, and it was literally the “perfect storm.” I could not have done it without the help of my husband and kids. Yes, I had to bribe my kids to watch each other so I could finish my book while I was sick and they were all home (at 3:30 in the morning!), but they did it. They were truly there for me. And so was a friend who saw my need in a Facebook post and brought me dinner that night. We need to just be there. We need to say, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here.” We need to show up when times are tough and support each other through. It doesn’t take any special kind of skills. It simply takes great love. (Read “The Do’s & Don’ts of Helping Others Through Grief)
2) Cheer each other on through the good times. It’s not just about being there when times are tough, though that’s definitely important. It’s also about being there when things are going well, through the successes–it’s about cheering one another on. I know some of us struggle with this. Whether it’s jealousy or discomfort with others’ successes, or whether somehow their successes make us feel “less than,” some of us do struggle to cheer others on. We must get over this and be there for one another. There is plenty of success to go around! I threw a book launch party a week and one-half ago, here in my hometown. It was simple and short, because I had a book launch, another book due, and I was sick all in the same three days! But I wanted to celebrate, and I wanted my friends to celebrate with me. I was pleasantly surprised how many of my friends came down to support me. Even though most of them are happily married, and my newest book is a “breakup” book (though it’s really a self-esteem book for anyone!), they came down, hugged me, bought a book, had me sign it, and smiled and laughed and had a great time (my daughters, too!)! Even my launch partners have done this online, with encouraging social media posts, emails, and even a blog tour (See articles from “JulieHanks.com,” “30SecondMom.com,” and “DrSarahAllen.com!”) Were there some close friends who haven’t shown me that kind of love and support? Unfortunately, yes. But was I feeling loved? Yes. Absolutely. Even the “good” times can be stressful. We still need to be there for each other.
3) Learn from Each Other. Watching and emulating those we respect and admire is one of the greatest ways to be there for each other. Just after my “Who Am I Without You” book launch and 3rd book deadline (8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise, with Norton, coming early 2016!), I was needed out of town as an expert witness in a trial. Like I said, it’s been a “full” couple of weeks! I’d been working on this case for over two years, and was as prepared as I could be, but this was my first time actually testifying as an expert witness in a full trial. I had no clue what I was supposed to do. So, I let myself be a blank slate, and the attorneys in the case were patient, spent hours with me, and taught me all about how to do my new “job.” I also had more experienced colleagues give me some pointers, and overall, I felt so supported and ready for whatever came my way. We have so many opportunities to learn from each other each day. All we have to do is open up and receive the knowledge, the wisdom, the gift of being shown “how.”
4) Teach one another. I love to teach, probably because I learn the most when I teach others. But I couldn’t do what I do–as a psychologist, author, blogger, speaker, and especially as a mother–without the willingness of others to open up, to ask for help, to listen, and to receive it. In return, I learn so much from those in my life, too–my clients, friends, family, my husband, and yes, especially my kids. We each have something important to teach. We each have talents and gifts, and we must share them with the world! The world, and each of us in it, will be so much better off if we do.
5) Build others up. Years ago, in high school, I started to wonder why we don’t just tell each other
the good things we think about one another. I made a commitment then and there to do whatever I could to make sure I shared the kind, loving things I think about others, so they will know. I’ve strived to share compliments with others whenever I think them, ever since. We mustn’t hide the good stuff we see in others. As one of my favorite quotes says, “We cannot see ourselves. We need a mirror to see ourselves. You are my mirror and I am yours.” ~Debbie Ford. Be that mirror. Tell others the good you see in them. You never know what a difference you can make.
6) Accept the good others see in us. When someone gives you a compliment, do you say, “Thank you?” or do you push it away? Too many times we push the good off, saying, “Oh, no. I’m not really like that.” But we must let the good in. If others are opening up enough to share the good they see in us, then we must be open enough to receive it. Let the good stuff in. We need that good from others; it helps us grow.
7) Show compassion. When others mess up, we can choose to show compassion. When their hurt is hurting us, we can choose to show compassion. Compassion is healing for the soul–both for their soul and especially for ours. The next time someone is screaming out in pain, take a deep breath, put your own fears and needs aside, and show some compassion.
8) Forgive. My kids forgive me all the time, because I ask for it. When I mess up as a mom, I do my best to acknowledge my wrongs and tell the kids I am sorry. And I do my best to forgive others, too. Forgiveness is cleansing, powerful, loving, and yes, forgiveness heals. Not just the one we forgive. Forgiveness heals us.
9) Be kind. Do kind gestures for others. Offer a smile, a hug, a listening ear. Pick up their kids for them, drive them somewhere, or help them into the house with their groceries. And no, kindness does not mean you become “weak.” Sometimes, kindness is doing the hard thing–correcting a child, pushing someone to reach their potential, or setting boundaries with unhealthy relationships. The kind thing is the loving thing, and the loving thing may not always feel easy or even good. I always tell my kids, “You don’t have to be nice to be kind.” No matter what, choose kindness.
10) Remember: We truly are one. When we hurt another soul, we hurt ourselves. When we love one another, when we forgive and let go of anger, hurt, or pain; when we teach and learn from each other and show kindness and compassion, then we thrive. We truly cannot do “it” alone, my friends. We need each other. Love is what makes this crazy, beautiful world–and each of us in it–go ’round.
What are your thoughts on “being there” for each other? Share them by leaving a comment, below!
Available now at Target, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, New Harbinger, or your local bookseller!
“Who Am I Without You is the light at the end of the tunnel!”
“So much more than a breakup book, this is a guide to self-worth for anyone, all in a neat little 52-lesson package!”
You may manage your subscription options from your profile.
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s IPPY Award-winning Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!
Don’t miss a thing!