Recently, I’ve stopped to consider the times when I have felt truly happy, inspired, or excited…the times when I’ve laughed out loud, welled up with tears, or experienced my heart full to overflowing. Every single one of these moments have included other people. Whether playing a game of kickball, chatting on the deck, trying out new songs, gathering for a potluck, solving the worlds problems over the phone, joking with clients in between group sessions, or sharing a slice of pizza with Gateway Alumni who want to help their friends stay sober.
Obviously, there is no shortage of tragedy, heartache, oppression, and unfairness in our world today…for some more than others. We all have “issues” to work through and “character defects” to address. However, I am recognizing it now more than ever, that the cornerstone for happiness and healing begins and is sustained by a genuine connection to others…valuing one another’s experiences, talents, quirks, struggles, and insights and recognizing that we all have something to contribute right now…no matter how far we have left to go. The connection I am talking about requires nothing external…it is most invigorating when all parties lay aside their labels and judgments and simply come to the table as humans. I have talked with countless individuals who sit at home alone, surrounded by 4 walls and the ever present drone of the television because they cannot see a place for themselves in the community. It is easy to bypass people that do not “appear” to want to be a part of what is going on or be the person that thinks no one needs you. However, we know that connection is biological. It is in our DNA. We have to have it to some degree or we literally cannot survive. The next time you see yourself slinking back from the action, rise up against those limiting beliefs and get in the game. People need you. You make life better. The next time you see someone hovering on the outskirts, let them know that they are needed and wanted…not because of what they can do…but because of who they are…a person.