Recently, I held an Undoing Vows Ceremony for women who are divorced or going through divorce to help them release those old vows and begin the journey of healing. The results of the ceremony are deeply personal and unique to each woman. On that particular evening, I was touched by the women in the group who allowed tears to flow freely. Sometimes that’s not so easy to do in a group setting, but they felt like they were in a space, emotionally and physically, where it was safe enough to allow themselves to feel their feelings. To allow what they had been holding inside to come up. To experience release.
It made me think of so many times in my life where I had been struggling with an issue and someone showed just a bit of compassion by telling me I was doing a good job, or asking how they could help. Those times beckoned tears of gratitude and release to my eyes. It was the simple fact that they acknowledged me or validated my feelings or kind of gave me a pat on the shoulder emotionally when I really needed it.
I’ve often heard and read that we have no idea the impact we can and do have on others. I once heard a new mother I knew beating up on herself because she felt that it must be her fault that her baby cried a lot. I assured her that she was a fine mother and to just give herself a break; it would all work out. For me it was a simple thing to say, and something I genuinely believed, and forgot about the conversation soon after. I didn’t see her for a couple months but when we got together, she let me know that what I had said had meant SO much to her and had changed how she felt about mothering!
Maybe you’ve read the about a teenager who offered to help carry the books of an acquaintance who later admitted that that kindness kept him from committing suicide ! It’s a powerful story that illustrates how a simple act of kindness, one that shows empathy, can truly change a life. You can read the full story here, but make sure you have a tissue handy!
My Toledo Biz TV Shows episodes this month talk about how to deal with life’s challenges. I think sometimes all it takes to help us deal with challenges is asking for a hug or giving one!
What experiences have you had of receiving encouragement from another that changed your entire day? Or what have you done for another that made a big impact on them?