Friday, November 22, 2013

Don't just sit there

There is another point I wanted to make in yesterday's post, but thought it better to save it for another day. (I tend to go on and on and probably leave most of you behind long before word number 1500.) So this is more of what I wanted to say to the women on the radio, though it is also a good reminder for the rest of us as well.

There are some things that stick with you from childhood. Possibly one of the most beneficial things I remember from my own is listening to my mother and grandmother remind me to not just sit there and wait for people to come to you. Do you want to make friends? Be the first one to go and introduce yourself. Do you want to do something? Then be the one to organize it and invite someone. In short, be the one to make things happen if you want them to happen. It was a powerful message.

This could explain why my second reaction to hearing that these women had no where to go for Thanksgiving was to wonder why they didn't gather up several others and fix a Thanksgiving dinner themselves. It would solve several problems. They would have somewhere and someone to celebrate with and very likely, they would be providing a place for someone else who may not have one.

In talking this over with a friend who is more intimately aware of the emotions which accompany finding yourself alone at a holiday, I realized that this is sometimes easier to say rather than do. The pain caused by the situation that left a person alone in the first place can sometimes be so overpowering that it is literally impossible for that person to be able to reach out and do the scary thing of invite someone over. This is why those of us in better circumstance need to be aware of the people around us and help them through that pain.

But it is also why developing the habit of being the one to make the first move is a good thing. When we are in desperate circumstances, we fall back on our usual ways of behaving. If we are used to inviting people, introducing ourselves, making the first move... not just sitting around and waiting for the world come to us, then that is more likely the behavior we will fall back on. Plus, it would just make the world a friendlier place.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you wish someone would come and talk to you or invite you to join in, be courageous and make the first move. I find it helpful to assume that what I am feeling is not so different from those around me. If I am afraid of doing something then I can be pretty sure that others are, too. If I am feeling lonely in the church's social time, then probably the majority of others are, too. If I am thinking that surely everyone else in the room knows each other and I am the only who feels left out, then I can be pretty sure that there are others in the room feel the same way. We are really not that much different from one another.

Chances are, if you take the risk and introduce yourself or invite someone to do something or volunteer to help with something, the reaction of the other person or persons will be positive. They might be initially surprised, because as a rule, we don't do this, but that doesn't mean they won't like it. So think how you would like to be treated in any situation and be the first to treat someone else that way.

Don't just sit there as my grandmother would say.

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