Appreciating The Big and Small Things in Life
This week I was having a little trouble with coming up with something to write about for this post. I don’t want to force myself to write just because I have to have a post ready to publish. I want it to come from the heart and flow with whatever I have been feeling recently. This kind of writing is new for me, as I’ve always written for academic purposes that had a topic I had to write about, which at times was not enjoyable and felt like a chore. I want writing this blog to be enjoyable for both myself and the reader, so I will try and write with the thoughts and emotions I am feeling at the time, coming from a place of truth. I want this to be natural and organic, not forced or to ever feel like a chore. I did eventually find something to write about for this post, and it simply came from an experience.
A few nights ago I went out for dinner with a couple of my friends and we each took the food we couldn’t finish to take home with us. While walking back to the car, we walked past a few homeless people. Normally, I just walk past them and not take any notice, but that night I felt especially guilty and really felt for them as it was quite a cold night. I walked by one, and started to think about them and how they must feel when people mindlessly walk by them, going about their daily life. I thought about how cold it was and how they have to sleep on the street with just the clothes on their back. I thought about how lonely they must feel and wondered what possibly went wrong in their life that got them to this place. It made me feel really sad, but also made me reflect on how lucky I am. As I was approaching another man sitting on the footpath, with his head down, asleep, I thought I would give him my food I was taking home. I realised I didn’t really need this food, and even though it was a small amount, I thought it was the least I could do. I placed it next to him, didn’t wake him and went on my way. I’m not sharing this to boast about my small action of kindness or to show off that I gave something to a homeless man. I’m sharing this because it sparked a feeling of appreciation that I rarely feel and wanted to share with you. It made me appreciate everything I have. I felt privileged to go home to a warm house and a loving family. I felt lucky to have access to pretty much everything I need. And most of all, I felt so lucky to have people in my life who love and support me. I feel loved and worthy. I have everything I’ll ever need and these people have hardly anything.
When we see homeless people on the street, we only see the outside of them and think about the THINGS they don’t have like shelter, food and money. We rarely think about their mental wellbeing and what might be going on in the inside. I thought, what possibly went wrong in their life that they got to this point, having nothing and not one person that cares enough about them, to get them back on their feet. They must feel incredibly lonely and I would imagine at times, invisible. We think they are sitting on the street, out in public, asking for money. But what would they really want? Love? Acknowledgement? A conversation? Or maybe just a smile? As much as money is extremely valuable and necessary for living, love and acceptance is just as valuable. I thought, how much would they appreciate someone just looking them in the eyes and giving them a smile or a nod of acknowledgement? How much would they appreciate someone to stop and have a conversation with them? I would imagine they would greatly appreciate these small actions just as much, if not more than someone giving them some spare change. This made me think and reflect on the importance of feeling like a valued human being, treated with equality and worth. To feel valued and loved is a fundamental need for our overall wellbeing. Having learnt about the value of these feelings, I now definitely value the people in my life more than ever, and found having love for yourself and feeling worthy has a much bigger influence on our overall happiness than material things will ever have.
I know the importance of having respect for yourself and having a strong belief that you are capable of anything you put your mind to. This comes from learning about yourself, and also from the support of loved ones. We all have the need to be accepted, loved and simply connected to others. We thrive on human connection and to see people who don’t have that at all, makes me feel incredibly sad. I want to believe I have the courage to stop and have a conversation with a homeless person, maybe I will next time, but I will make sure I at least look them in the eyes and smile. I will acknowledge them and I guess that’s the least I can do.
From this encounter, I have become aware of how lucky I am. I am truly grateful for everything I have in my life and how I feel as a person. I know how it feels to feel broken, even with all I have in my life, so I can’t even imagine how people who have hardly anything must feel. I’m not sure what exactly homeless people would value more, money or love, but a small thing we can all do next time we walk by them, even if we don’t have any loose change on us, is acknowledge them and show them you see them and care. They might value that so much more than you just walking by and ignoring them. This goes for every human being we come across. Something my parents taught me from a young age that has stuck with me, is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Always treat others with respect and kindness, no matter who they are. Who knows, it could make their day.
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