We’ve all heard the advice about looking outward when we feel sad or depressed, right? That obnoxious adage that “when we focus on others, we focus on ourselves?” Well, apparently it works.
Here’s the story.
Last night, someone I went to Highschool (at one of those specialty arts programs) with popped up as the main villain on a tv show I was watching. Well, I did some googling, and, it turns out, she’s had a pretty solid acting career. Solid enough to be a recurring character on another popular show for five years leading up to the one I was now seeing her on. Cool for her, hard for me –obviously I’m not a successful television actor now, and being reminded of a path I chose not to pursue was hard.
Well, that experience put me in a funk. A deep funk. I was feeling down, sorry for myself, regretful, and a whole bunch of other really negative emotions that I didn’t know how to shake. Add that to the fact that I have a moderate case of depression, and I was headed down a road that could have majorly affected me for several days after what should have been a minor –if a little painful– event.
For a little while after the feelings came up, I just let myself feel them. I knew I was in a bad place and that I needed to try to move on, but I didn’t know how. Then, and I think this is the only time I’ll ever say this, I found the answer on Twitter. Ok, not actually on Twitter, but definitely through it.
See, in the last couple days I’ve started a Twitter account to try to drive traffic to this blog. I have been posting as often as I can, anywhere I can think of, to try to spread the word, and last night was no different. Even in my funk I was posting, liking, following, and retweeting until I eventually shared my “When You Give Some Ants A Cracker” post somewhere. That’s when the realization came:
I write a blog about caring about people. I literally wrote a post about how caring can make people happier. I should probably try to apply that.
So I tried it. I asked myself what I would want to hear in that moment to help me feel better and how I could apply that to someone else.
And it worked, I started to see the way out.
What I realized was that I needed to not feel alone in my feelings; to know that someone else understood. So I put that sentiment out into the world via Twitter, hoping that the magic of the internet would get it to someone who needed it.
Here’s the tweet:https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Now, I feel like a hypocrite for even mentioning Twitter. Personally, I really dislike social media. I don’t use it in my day to day life, I only use it for this blog out of necessity, and as of right now I have a grand total of fourteen followers (none of whom I actually know) so I promise you I wasn’t trolling for likes or anything like that. I was simply putting some care into the world in the hope that someone, somewhere, who needed it, would find it.
And, honestly, I think one person actually saw it. Effectively I was whispering into the void. But that didn’t matter. It was the act of consciously trying to care about someone else that made me feel better. Somehow, don’t ask me how, thinking about how another person –even a hypothetical one– was feeling, and doing my best to let them know that I was feeling it, too, brought me a lot of peace. I was able to pull myself out of the funk and keep moving forward.
So I invite you to give it a try. Next time you feel down, or upset, or stressed, or “insert emotion here”, look for someone else, in person or not, who might be feeling that same way. Then do your best to let them know you’re in it together. I have no idea if this will work all the time, I’m going to be testing it right along with you, but I have a feeling it will. And if it does work, please let me know. Because we’re all in this together.
Thanks for reading, you’ve got this,