We all want to know: Who will be there for me? But sometimes you must get out of your own head. Be there for others (not in a phony way) and they will be there for you.
As we look around at all our friends and loved ones, we might notice that everyone seems a bit low in the water. There is only one remedy to correct this state of mind, and it begins with you. Figure out which problems in your life are actionable and which ones there is nothing you can do to solve. When the in-actionable problems take over your brain, it’s time to start thinking of things other than yourself. Be there for someone else.
Charity doesn’t have to change the world. It’s enough if you can change a few moments for another. Little changes bring about big shifts over time. Here is a running list of Little Actions:
Bring dinner. Flu is rampant. Sick people need to eat but cannot get to the store or stand in front of the stove. You could do it for them, delivering a dinner of chicken noodle soup already in zip lock freeze bags so they can have two or three dinners.
Be an active listener. Try not saying the word “I” for twenty minutes in your next conversation with an acquaintance. Your friendship will dive deeper as a result.
Spread joy. No matter how terrible you feel, pretend you feel joy, if only for a few minutes. Call a friend in need and ask how they are. Do not discuss any of your problems on the call.
Give someone a happy surprise. Pay for someone’s small purchase but don’t tell them. At One Broad in December, a young man I hardly know asked the cashier to put my cookie and tea on his card. When my turn came to pay I was flabbergasted! When I needed a lift, there it was. And for the last eight weeks, I haven’t forgotten this generous gesture, nor will I forget.
Share your expertise. One of my closest friends who died recently always had words of encouragement, wisdom, business advice, empathy — never wanting anything in return except friendship. As I mourn his loss and importance in my life, it is my turn to take my wisdom and empathy to another. We all hold each other up one moment at a time.