The story of NBA basketball player Ryan Anderson as he deals with the loss of his girlfriend by suicide. An awesome perspective by someone who had to deal with his loss both privately and publicly. Watch his story here.
Today I read yet another blog post from To Write Love On Her Arms which hit home with me more than any i’ve ever read.
“My purpose here is to show people that you don’t necessarily have to encounter these issues directly to be involved in the fight against them”
Sometimes I write things on this blog that I later realize contradict my own thoughts. I think as we grow and learn our ideas change, but I realized as I read this blog how it almost went backwards to what I wrote about in this previous post about finding your passion through difficult experiences.
I talked before about how my passion for mental health, struggles, self-love and basically everything on this blog draws from my personal experience, and my desire to help others through the use of my story. I wrote how your difficult experiences can be used for good. And I still believe that to be true, I believe that incredible power comes from telling your story, and furthermore, using it as a foundation for change, hope, and compassion.
But what about before I had a “story”? What if my life had played out differently? Would I be passionate about the same things, better yet, would I even feel a personal conviction to talk about this stuff?
Is compassion really about drawing on personal experience to help others? to some extent, yes. But is that the end of it? I don’t think so.
“I have always assumed I had nothing to speak of—until I thought long and hard about why I am here and why I left everything to devote my life to this cause…”
This post made me realize that although your true passion may come from difficult experience, compassion isn’t just about helping those that you understand. It’s easier for me to identify with struggles that I’ve personally faced. It’s easier for me to tell someone it will be okay because I’ve seen the other side of it.
To those in high school: though you may try hard to fit in, you will eventually find people who love you for exactly who you are, and it’s worth waiting for.
To those trying to figure out what to do after high school: you don’t have to have it all figured out. No one does.
To those with a broken heart: it sucks now. It will for a while, but it will get better I promise.
I can say these things to you because I’ve lived them, I can show compassion because I get it. I understand what you’re going through.
We won’t always understand what everyone is going through. And that’s okay, because that’s the beauty of life, everyone lives it differently yet somehow we are still able to connect with one another and build relationships through honesty, communication, and love.
That’s because the only thing that’s universal is love. And we can show love through compassion even if we have no freaking clue what to do.
“I am a storyteller, because of the characters who share my journey with me.”
You have a story. And that story is important. But it doesn’t have to look the same as someone else’s for it to matter. It doesn’t have to be shocking and eventful for someone to benefit. Your story is who you are, and you can do a heck of a lot with that no matter what your pages read like.
I used to think my story didn’t matter because I couldn’t think of anything that really shaped who I am, or anything that radically changed my world and how I lived.
Now, things look a little different for me. And I will continue to be passionate about the things that have affected me. Because I believe that it is important.
However, reading this blog today made me realize that although I may sometimes know where my passion lies, COMpassion must be more than that.
Compassion is telling someone you don’t know how they feel but you still care.
Compassion is never feeling the weight of oppression but realizing that other people do, and you can make a difference by caring.
Compassion is knowing that you don’t know it all, but doing something anyways.
Compassion is using your story to help beyond your scope of experience.
Compassion is your passions, your story, and your ability to empathize all wrapped up in a chaotic and wonderful whirlwind of love.
I write this like I’m good at it, but reading this post today is just what made me realize I am not.
“I hold each story I have heard as a part of my own.”
Maybe I didn’t think my story mattered because i just chose not to care. Maybe I thought that if I didn’t personally experience something, I was disqualified from caring. Maybe I never took the time to care until it was me in the driver’s seat without a map.
Whatever it was, I want to live a life that is marked by compassion, not just for what I understand, but also for the things I don’t understand.
So if you have a friend that is hurting and you just don’t understand, maybe they don’t need you to understand, maybe they just need you to care. Chances are they don’t understand either, but guaranteed they DO understand love. Because everyone needs that.
What is compassion to you? How do we show it?
Thank you for reading! Check out the original blog that inspired this post here:
I had a post written ready to share, which I probably will do soon enough, but I was blown away by the honest words of this post I read today so I wanted to share it first.
Many of you are aware of my obsession with To Write Love On Her Arms, I love everything they do and stand for, they have greatly impacted myself and others in so many ways. They speak out against the stigma of mental health, and provide support and hope for those struggling.
In this blog called A Present Struggle, Brandi Mathis talks about hers. About how she’s not there yet, and how easy it is to just talk about the things we’ve already recovered from. How it’s easy to encourage others to embrace their struggle, but harder to do that yourself.
That’s me. When I write I have to consciously remind myself that even though the words are meant for others, it’s important that I believe them to be true for myself.
But if what I wrote didn’t have a personal attachment than i’d probably run out of things to say pretty quickly.
It’s so easy to talk about what you’ve already overcome, what you’ve beaten, and the part of your story that’s been dealt with or “fixed”.
It’s harder to say that where you are right now isn’t where you’d like to be, or that you currently struggle and don’t have all the answers.
What if we took action in the present tense instead of waiting until it was all resolved?
What if we were honest enough with ourselves to be in the struggle with the ones we are fighting for?
So present tense, here goes.
Presently, I struggle with anxiety, and with trying to convince myself that it’s not real most of the time.
I spend a lot of time focused on how people see me, or how they don’t.
Some days it seems real, some days it doesn’t, and they each exist separately which makes for a roller coaster of emotions.
I avoid talking about it if it means i’ll have to do something about it, and i’d much rather help others with their struggle. I’d much rather speak hope over others rather than myself.
But I also realize that in order to create community, we need to be honest and transparent. And that’s what I desire this space to become: community. A loved community.
So presently I struggle. Present not meaning just today, yesterday or tomorrow, but meaning that my story continues. As does yours.
Wherever you are at is important, even if it’s not where you want to stay. What your current struggle may be is important, just as your current victories are important.
The more we speak of these things, the easier it gets to talk about. The easier it is to know you’re not alone and people care about you. And the more we can understand each other, love each other, and be real with each other and ourselves.
comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story of the present tense.
You can read the full blog post by Brandi here:
and visit www.twloha.com it’s awesome.