I have a story to tell today about human beings and connection – it just happened to me and it really hit me how important it is to share it.
I just experienced true ‘connection’ in its rawest and purest form and I feel so blessed because of it.
When I was a single mom, I often felt very alone. Society is set up these days in single unit homes, single unit lives and everyone just keeps to themselves mostly. I felt so alone, I created a movement in Vancouver called Sayhitoastranger to express just how alone I felt – I soon realized that in expressing that loneliness, I was not actually ALONE in feeling that way. There are so many people in this City, but not many actually stop to ‘see’ you or say ‘hi’ to you and truly connect.
When I was a single mom, my gifted daughter, was an extreme challenge to bring up when she was toddler/child age. She felt many things and saw many things, and without the language skills to express those things, she lashed out physically and emotionally. It was like having 5 boys, instead of one very strong willed girl. I used to face hours of screaming, hitting, crying, more screaming. It was intense. She grew up to be the most sensitive, compassionate, intelligent and amazing young lady that I am so very proud of. She can now TELL me the things she used to feel and couldn’t communicate, so I learned more about her and her different way of approaching the world in time and with patience.
As a single mom, it can be very hard – but we do it, because we have to and because we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for our kids – but we shouldn’t have to sacrifice ourselves…
Today, I had the opportunity to help a single mom out. She was crying, angry, tired, stressed and her child was screaming, lashing out, hitting her etc..it all seemed so familiar, but also so distant now. I knew what I had to do. I ran up to her before she could drive out of the parking lot where we live in a fit of rage, stress and panic and I stopped her and hugged her.
I just hugged her and told her I understood and that she was not alone. My daughter now babysits for her and I was able to tell her again that it will not always be as tough as it is now. I was in the position to utilize my past pain and struggle to help a fellow mom in pain and in need by simply understanding, seeing her and being there for her.
We focused on breathing – and of course her kid calmed right down and starting grinning and laughing ( little buggers) as my kid would do when a kind stranger, or neighbor would just help me instead of judge me.
We all need more this in our lives. Not only did I offer up kindness, compassion and love – I received it back in her gratitude and her immediate trust in me. I felt like i’d been given a gift in that moment and it had nothing to do with me being better, and her being less than. In fact, I knew she was better than most people out there for the sacrifice she makes, each and every day. I only know this, because I lived it.
Judging others harms in so many ways. We never know what people are going through. Especially if you don’t know them well.
Today taught me to remember what I have to give, and what I can receive by remembering that. When we embrace our pain and struggles, we learn how to support others who face the same path.
Have the courage to connect, on that raw, vulnerable and real level. Day to day it might just look like a ‘Hi!’ to a person passing the street. You never know how you may change their day.
I know that I kept an overworked, single mom from racing out into traffic with her son, whom she loves more than the world, and putting herself and him in danger simply because she had no support around her. She’s not to blame, we are – society is. We need to cherish our single parents, our teachers, and those who teach and guide our next generation.
Hug a single parent today or offer them some support. You have no idea how much they have to deal with each and every day. They are bringing up your future. And, connect to all the people around you – see them, talk to them. Parents, homeless, elderly, parents of children with disabilities, teenagers ( yes even them) You may save a life one day and not even know it.