Reaching out, especially when we’re going through challenges can be one of the hardest things to do. Our energy might be low and we can be afraid that if we reach out that we won’t get the response that we want or need.
Stepping forward and saying ‘I’m not OK’ takes real courage.
But when you do this, something magical happens.
People realise that you’re human. People relate to you. People connect with you.
It’s amazing how many people there are out there who want to help and support you if you’ll only let them.
As you know, I’ve had a pretty challenging couple of months…and in the process of dealing with what’s been happening, I’ve been very open and honest about the situation. I haven’t hidden away from it, or put a brave face on to cover it…I’ve shared it…with my friends, with the world, with you.
The beautiful thing about sharing so openly and showing your vulnerability is that people respond.
The wonderful thing about reaching out is that people see the courage it takes…and they reach back to you.
Over the last few weeks I have felt incredibly blessed by the number of people who have reached out to me to share their stories, their support and their love. I have received messages from complete strangers, from dear friends and from people who I haven’t spoken to in person for literally years (some of them for around a decade!).
I am so grateful to each and every one of the people who has taken the time to reach out to me, even if it was just to say hello or how are you doing.
It’s also incredible the number of people out there feeling alone and wanting help. By opening up to them, you give them permission to open up to you in return.
I was speaking with a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago about the situation that I was experiencing, and when I’d finished talking she shared some challenges that she had been facing. I’d had no idea she had been going through such a tough time, and it was only when I opened up to her that she felt able to open up in return.
When I asked her why she hadn’t rung me to tell me what was going on, the response was simple “I didn’t want to be a bother”.
To hear that was heartbreaking, because I know a ten minute conversation would have probably made her feel a lot better, a lot less alone in her situation and would have made me feel good that I was able to be there for her.
We have got into this habit of dealing with everything on our own and putting a ‘brave face’ on things…that has lead us to pulling back from the people around us when we need them most.
So the next time that you find yourself going through a challenge, I invite you to use the four “Rs”:
- Reach out – Reach out to the people around you and let them know that you’re having a bit of a challenge. A good rule of thumb here is to think of the people who are close to you who you would want to reach out to you if they were having a hard time. Chances are, those are exactly the people who want you to reach out to them when you are.
- Receive – Reaching out is only half the story! When you reach out to the people who you know will want to support you, allow yourself to open up and receive from them. Whether it’s a hug, a kind word, a cup of tea (or cocktail!) or a piece of advice…allow yourself to receive.
- Respond – When someone has been there for you…be sure to respond to let them know how much it is appreciated. Acknowledge what they’ve done for you, tell them what it has meant to you and say thank you. It might seem like a little thing…but it means a lot.
- Reciprocate – When someone has been there for you when you need them, be sure to let them know that you want to be there for them in return. It might not be right there and then (like it was with me and my girlfriend) but at some point in the future they will need someone too…let them know that you want to be that person for them, in the way that they’ve been for you.
When we reach out, we create strong bonds that will be there for a long time to come.
We can enjoy the good times together and give each other a helping hand when things get a little bumpy along the way…which makes life a little easier for us all.
So use the four Rs…and remember to reach out!