The past four years have been challenging for all of us. We have faced both physical and mental illnesses. As Mental Health Awareness Month ends, I want to emphasize the importance of reaching out and connecting with others, whether they are friends, family members, or even strangers.
I was inspired to write my book, Yellow Car Bingo: A Black Mama’s Journey Through Special Education, by parents of children with special needs who were searching for someone to give them a voice. Now, more than ever, these parents need a beacon of light. They need to know that it’s okay to prioritize their own well-being while caring for their children or loved ones. They need to believe that there is hope and light at the end of the struggles they are currently facing.
Strength of a Woman
I eagerly shared my book with one of the strongest women I know, but her response was silence. I became overwhelmed with negative thoughts, questioning whether I had offended her or made mistakes in the book.
Approximately 24 hours later, she sent me a text expressing how proud she was of me and how much she loved my book. She apologized for not calling and explained that she had intended to discuss the book with me, but each time she picked up the phone, she became too emotional. She also thanked me for my newsletter, revealing that this past year had been challenging for her, and my newsletter provided her with a sense of strength. Who knew?
During our brief conversation via text, we both laughed and cried together. (I admit, I’m not a pretty crier, and if you’re crying while talking to me, I will cry with you.) That simple thank you reminded me that we all face our own trials and tribulations. It also served as a reminder that I need to improve in reaching out to my friends and acquaintances.
Life is never too busy for a quick check-in. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy conversation—just a simple “I was thinking about you” will suffice. Allow them to lead the conversation thereafter.
What’s Behind That Smile?
Sometimes, the person who always wears a smile and uplifts everyone else is the one who needs uplifting the most. There’s a woman I know who constantly encourages others, especially children with special needs, through her presence on Facebook. By looking at her and talking to her, you would never suspect that she carries her own burdens. But, of course, she does. She is human. She is a mother. She experiences pain just like the rest of us.
As I write this on Memorial Day, a day dedicated to honoring those in the U.S. military who died while serving our country, I send thoughts of healing and peace to two friends. One friend buried her mother on Sunday, and another friend is seeking prayers for her ailing father. I also extend thoughts of peace and gratitude to the families who have lost loved ones during their service.
I’m sharing all of this not to bring anyone down, but to remind everyone that we could all benefit from a smile, a word of encouragement, or a thoughtful gesture as we navigate this journey called life.
Today, make an effort to reach out and touch somebody’s life with a card, a phone call, a smile, or a kind word. Just imagine the ripple effect it will have throughout the world.
*** Need more self-care tips including info on incorporating more laughter into your day, head on over to A Cup of Positivity on Facebook join the discussion.
Patricia “Pat” Bumpass is a ghostwriter, self-care advocate, author, and parent coach. She encourages and empowers women and parents with special needs kids to love themselves. Pat is North Carolina “born and bred” and loves coffee — hot or iced. You will often hear her say, “Twertles make me happy.” 🙂
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