A few days ago I decided to watch Same Kind of Different as Me again because it popped up in one of my streaming recommendations. I watched it a few years ago and I remembered it to be an uplifting movie, despite the tragedy that gets addressed in several scenes.
One of the scenes that stuck out to me this time around was when Greg Kinnear's character, "Ron" (based on a true story) asked if there were any infectious diseases he needed to worry about by helping to serve meals at the homeless shelter. The response that he got was "We try to infect them with love."
This time around that quote in the movie resonated with me and it actually continued to ring true in my life in the days since I watched the movie. There are many times that I question whether the work on these posts are helping anyone or inspiring anyone. I wonder if the plans I have to grow the site into a business offering services to the community are even going to be utilized.
At times it seems that people aren't interested in doing better or getting better. It sometimes seems that people aren't interested in anyone that isn't themselves. It seems that people do not want growth... they want to be victims or stagnate or sad all the time, even if they don't have to be. However, I know better.
I see it everyday... people volunteering their time and supporting fundraisers for organizations that matter like the Out of the Darkness Walk that happened this past Saturday in Hampton Roads. I see people donating their birthdays to causes. I see people painting and hiding kindness rocks and people giving to GoFundMe accounts for accident or relief victims.
It even showed up in my own life when one of my friends wanted to contribute to my daughter's fall wardrobe for school this week and another friend sent a bulk of gifts to my door for my daughter and me to support her artwork and remind me to relax at times! Even my mom has helped make sure that we weren't hurting for groceries now that I've transitioned out of retail to build my wellness business and I've had other friends remind me to call if I need anything.
Have you surrounded yourself with with people who infect you with love? Do you have people in your life who help to remind you that you don't have to be isolated, you don't have to be perfect, you don't have to have everything figured out, and you don't have to be like them? The best way to realize whether or not you have someone around who is infecting you with love is to be one.
One aspect of managing our stresses is helping to manage the stresses of others. We often have all kinds of advice when it comes to helping our friends and loved ones reflect on their struggles from the outside looking in or to offer assistance and forgiveness for anything they cannot overcome. As individuals sometimes it is easier to trust the experience of others than to trust our own instincts. When we make ourselves available to others by showing them love and understanding we make it easier on them to offer us the same.
It goes without saying that most people are not comfortable asking for help, and of those who are, they still feel a sense of vulnerability in doing so. The overwhelmed parents may not be comfortable admitting they can't afford food or housing for their kids that month. The business manager may not be comfortable admitting to their boss or client that they need more help or time to complete a project. The students may not be comfortable admitting to the teacher that they have a question or don't have the materials to complete the assignment.
One thing I have learned as a parent, a friend, a volunteer, and a business manager is that sometimes people don't need advice in order to feel better about their problems, they just need to talk the through with people who can be objective and confidential. They just need to be seen every once in a while. It would be impossible for just a few people on earth to be available to all 7+ billion people on the planet, which is why more and more of us can focus on helping to heal those around us so that we can learn how to heal ourselves... or at least build a community of support to do so.
We sometimes believe that it takes grand gestures to push love into others when in fact it is just small acts like calling to check in, giving a ride or paying for gas, recommending for a job or class enrollment, or even sharing a social media post that can have strong impact on someone's mental health and physical wellness. People will not always believe you when you say "Call me if you need anything" or "Let me know how I can help" but they will believe you when you return phone calls, help with childcare in an emergency, or help with a project that they are getting off the ground.
Remember that infecting others with love isn't simply about being nice. It is about demonstrating empathy and humanity. We don't always know the end result of giving that other customer the last item on the shelf or giving someone back the $10 they dropped, but how do you know you didn't help someone have their only meal for the day or buy the last bit of gas they needed to get to that job interview?
One of the things that sometimes disappoints me about social media is how some people literally only post about what they have or where they are but none of it is ever inclusive of the people around them. I get it, it's their page, they can post what they want, but what makes someone believe they are so entitled for others to pay attention and care about who they are but they do not extend the return? They don't value the people they want to value them.
Is every holiday or weekend about you? Is everything you buy about you? Is everywhere you go or everything you talk about about you? Who are you spreading your blessings to in addition to the people you know? Do you really listen to the people around you who can't directly ask for your help but hope that you can see the signs or feel the energy?
How we all end up is NOT always a direct reflection of the choices we've made, although that makes some people feel better to believe. We all want to believe that we have certain levels of success because we've made good decisions or we come from good families or have the right jobs. However, we are only as fortunate as we are because we had help from influences beyond our control to get the call back, to get the parents we got, to get the acceptance letter, or to not be violently targeted on our way to school or the grocery store.
We should not make the mistake of taking good thingsfor granted or take too much credit for the good that we have. We also cannot take too much credit for the good that we do toward others. We have to have a deeper understanding of what "love" is... that it cannot be a surface word. The right kind of love can save someone's life. The right kind of love can help someone stay healthy or keep trying or hold back from violence. The right kind of love can help set a dangerous anger free.
We still have such tall task to protect ourselves from physical illnesses like Covid-19, the Flu, cancer, heart disease, and other scientific mutations that happen in nature but we can't forget about the diseases we can't see, like sadness, desperation, shame, and evil. If we don't start infecting others with the right kind of healing, the rest of the illnesses aren't going to matter. The sadness, desperation, shame, and evil kill faster than any of the other diseases.
Who is the last person that infected you with some love? Do you remember who the last person infected you? What type of mental medicine can you help supply to others without breaking your bank or infringing on too much of your time? Who has saved you without even knowing the influence that they had at the time?
Sometimes people don't need a shot of adrenaline or a dose of penicillin to survive. Sometimes they just need external proof that they exist.