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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Be a Light for Someone

I'm writing this entry, not to make anyone feel bad for me or to put blame on anyone.  I've had so many people amazed at how I've been able to completely change my life, outlook on the future and reflections of the past throughout the last year that this just kinda came out of my head tonight.  I've written a lot about how I've changed over the last 13 months.  I was in probably the deepest and darkest hole I could have ever imagined I'd find myself in.  Thankfully, with the love and support of my friends and family, I've been able to slowly climb to the top of that hole and see the sunshine again.  It's an amazing gift and feeling that is difficult for me to describe to anyone who asks about it.  But, here's what I relate it to in some respects - 

I work with teenagers every day.  I think there are many people out there who don't understand how much kids deal with on a daily basis.  Whether it's from peers, friends, significant others or even their families,  kids (and teenagers) are sponges waiting to absorb everything you put in their path.  With that, if you ever encounter someone who struggles with depression, figuring out who he/she is or just life in general, I'm here to tell you that just being there for that person will make all the difference in the world.  It may not seem like it at the time but, I promise, those people will look back on their lives and remember those who took time for them.  Those who took a moment to ask about their family.  Their friends.  Their hobbies.  Or just anything unique about them.  

So, why am I telling you all of this?  Because I was one of those kids.  Don't get me wrong, I was (and still am) blessed with the most amazing family.  But, I definitely struggled to find my way and my place as a kid/teenager.  I still do as an adult!  I couldn't find anything I was good at.  Being that I am pretty quiet and can come across as closed off at times (although, to anyone who really knows me, that is about the most opposite phrase of anything people use to describe me), it was difficult to make good friends.  I wasn't the life of the party, I'm still not.  I just wanted to be friends with people I could be myself around.  As a teenager, that can be difficult to find.  Everyone wants to be part of something.  I always tried to fit in with sports.  Growing up in my family, I didn't know anything else.  I didn't have the confidence to be involved in things I would have been good at and that would have truly helped me figure myself out.  I really think the only way I survived high school was because I had a couple of adults that I really trusted and knew cared about me and believed in me.  I knew that if I ever needed anything, I could go to them and they wouldn't judge me.  In fact, they often tried to get me involved in different activities no matter how much I fought it.  Looking back on it, they could probably see how lost I was.  Even if I couldn't.

Fast forward over 15 years (wow, that makes me feel old...) and I can honestly say that these experiences have shaped me into who I am and how I live my life on a daily basis.  At the same time, as an adult, the people who have always been there for me and those who are recent additions to my life have showed me just how much influence having positive people to be around on a regular basis can make all the difference.  I wake up each day and go to bed each day happy.  That never used to happen.  And even those who are recent additions feel like they've been a part of my life forever.  In my mind, those are the people who are meant to be in my life and will always be there. 

There are so many factors that go into making someone into who they are meant to be.  I can honestly say, for me, knowing there are people in my life who care about me, enjoy being around me and want the best for me has made all the difference in the world I find myself in on a daily basis.  I can look back on my past and not focus on the negativity I used to be so consumed by on a regular basis.  I can pull out the positive pieces and know that the lessons I learned were things I needed to figure out.  Maybe it just took me a little longer than the average person.  I'm okay with that.  It all happens in time.  

Find one person you can be a light for.  I love doing that on a regular basis.  Even if the person doesn't see it now, they will.  And they will thank you for it in more ways than you will ever know.  I do.