A few short stories in relation to today’s daily prompt. Somewhere hidden within the text is a sense of something being gone or lost. I find that the word gone itself is very empty with little to offer in terms of emotion.
The Wi-Fi was fine and good It was I who had no connections left
“You really mean the world to be my darling!” This was the birthday text that was sent. Blue ticks. It’s been read. No reply. The heart sank. I understood, someone else has taken the place.
Somewhere between yesterday’s shadow and Somewhere between tomorrow’s insecurities We end up ruining today’a happiness.
Sooner or later, We all come to realise that being a Child was the best thing ever.
“Can you live without him?” her friend asked.
“No, but I would rather let him fly than break his wings.”
They both cried endlessly. One had to forget and move on, The other regretted letting go.
Somewhere between parents expectations and Society’s interference, dreams died.
Take me back in time when people and emotions were real. Take me to my childhood….
Somewhere between “I want to grow up” and “I want to be a child again”, Life happened.
I love my life and I love myself. I am happy within my own skin and I know very few people who can say this without either flinching or avoiding the question. In my line of work I see so many patients who really are quite disturbed by their actual self and cannot function without negativity in almost every sentence they say. There’s the anxiety of becoming old and losing the full functionality of their body as well as their minds. Then there’s the chronic fear of loneliness, abandonment and isolation from friends and family who either live further afield or have passed away due to ill-health. The loss importance is another theme that often arises in conversation. Many of my old dear patients feel so unimportant despite their knowledge and vast life experience. They couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a large part of my life has been built on the foundations of having acquaintance with people who are often 20-30 years older than me at least. However, society really does not have any space for them or any useful and meaningful role which they can continue to play and live a more fulfilling and satisfying quality of life. It’s a sad situation and a real loss for society despite the abundance of this resource of knowledge and experience.
It’s not just the elderly that feel this way, its younger adults too. I witnessed something today which is not only rare but also dangerous. A senior member of staff and a psychiatrist argued like children to the point where the entire situation became toxic. It ended with the psychiatrist storming out in tears accusing the other member of staff of assault. Did the assault occur? I honestly don’t know and my view was blocked therefore I couldn’t see. Personally however, I really don’t believe my colleague was or even is capable of assaulting anyone. The psychiatrist really felt threatened by the behaviour and attitude of senior member of staff. This threat I believe was fuelled by her underlying issues, her vulnerability rather than the behaviour of the senior member of staff actually behaving in a threatening manner. She screams and leaves the office. Emotions were really running very high and my head was spinning from all the negativity in the room. I went after the psychiatrist who was now more vulnerable than I had ever seen since her arrival to the team almost three weeks ago. I followed her because no one ran after me when I felt threatened or vulnerable. She wears a happy-go-lucky attitude, a smile plastered on her face almost too easily, laughing and joking with the team. Her work ethic is strong, she oozes knowledge and expertise and completing clinical practice diligently with patient care at the centre of her practice. Yet this is an individual who is extremely vulnerable. The positive suit she wears is fake, behind which she carries a great deal of pain, hurt and damage. A heartbreaking observation to see her pathetic attempts at trying to win the acceptance of her colleagues and the only means by which she feels she can achieve this is put across a front which is so transparent. The psychiatrists position does not reflect her inner state of mind, one which is of chaos and confusion. She returned to the office composing herself.
Everyone is fighting their own battle, in one way of another yet we are just unable to see it because we are so engrossed in our own battles. This self-consuming disease of distress and pain has driven us to become ignorant of those around us. We have financial issues, family issues, personal identity issues to name but a few. We become so engrossed in the struggle to get something me we want to have become complacent. No one wishes to maintain an acceptable level of control over their emotions and fight their own battles privately perhaps due to a lack of knowledge on how to or the mere fact that the emotions are overwhelming.
As humans, if we are all carrying such negativity and stress around with us then what would make it easier for us? What is the one thing that would change the way you feel at one particular moment. The psychiatrist said to me she was grateful that I had come after her to encourage her to come back into the office. Another has said thank you for just being there while she just swears and screams. Another just wanting a hand while she has a panic attack. There was no judgment, there was no back biting and no break of trust. I was just there and such incidents don’t come up again in conversation, particularly from my side. I have come to realise that allowing someone to just vent their feelings at one particular point is so important and so vital to the individuals mental well-being.
Why are we so afraid of our emotions? We know how they feel when we feel them, so why do we ignore them when others around us feel the same?
A messages has arrived;
It troubles me
A letter has come
When will you return home?
Write to me, oh my loved one, when will you come home?
For without you, this home is soulless, empty
A lover, a lady has written a letter,
When is you return home?
For this home is empty, lifeless without you
They all ask, when will you return home?
The scented dawns, the riotous evenings,
The lonely nights, the flowers in her hair,
The incomplete words, the yearning embraces,
and the longing glances have all asked
When shall you return?
for without you this home is empty, lifeless without you.
A messages has arrived;
It troubles me
A letter has come
When will you return home?
Write to me, oh my loved one, when will you come home?
For without you, this home is soulless, empty
The lover writes;
The towns, the shadows of the willow trees,
The old park bench, the rain showering down,
The fields of poppy, the town squares,
The ocher climbers, the twisting vines,
The rocking swings, the swaying flowers,
The bursting blossoms, and the lanes of the towns ask
When shall you return?
for without you this home is empty, lifeless without you.
The message has arrived,
Written with love in her eyes, words burstings with affection, with sentiment.
A tenderness, a warmth, a concern, a passion,
Sometimes Outwardly in anger, sometimes inwardly in love
In every word my lover asks,
When will you return home?
Write to me, oh my loved one, when will you come home?
For without you, this home is soulless, empty
Oh passing wind, in your arms carry my embrace to my lover
Quicken to my town, where the twisting vines await,
Quicken to my town with the swaying flowers,
Quicken to my lane with the shadows of the willows tress call out,
Quicken to my lane where by beloved resides
Give embrace to her, give her my love, give her my touch.
Tell her I love her so
Tell her I shall return one day
Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?
I am a rock, or so I have been told today by a colleague who had a severe panic attack following an altercation with a fellow colleague in the office. We stand outside while she puffs away vigorously at her cigarette hurling obscenities at our colleague. I stand, watch and listen while offering what I believe to be very little in terms of support. kneeling down to her level, I comfort her and direct her attention away from her state of panic. I encourage her to breathe slowly and slow her pressured speech. My perseverance prevails. She began to breathe slower, speech returning to normal. Tears still roll down her eyes but she is calmer. She hold my hand. I feel the panic in her hand, it shakes, its clammy and cold. She looks at me, indicating that she is ready to return. I see her eyes. There is gratitude and there is relief too. So we walk back to the office, my colleague with red puffy eyes and a sombre look on her face. Angry, frustrated and tired. She links her arm in mine, and hold on tight with her head bowed. I walk in, eyes staring at me like I’ve just dragged in an alien. ‘Thank you’, she said again as we sit down, ‘you have been my rock today, I really do not how I could have managed the situation. I’m here if you ever need me’, she said; ‘do not be afraid to ask for support when you need it’. I was grateful for the gratitude and the hand in support offered to me.
I’ve been dwelling on the entire event ever since. The words echo in my head ‘do not be afraid to ask for support when you need it’. The truth is there was a period of time in my life where I relied heavily on most people around me for everything, particularly emotional support. Unfortunately despite relying on the person, there has been a lack of emotional or any other kind of support there. Slowly and eventually I have learnt to rely on myself heavily and make myself more self-sufficient particularly emotionally. It’s difficult to ask for help and support at a low point in your life only to be turned away or be let down. When asking for help, it is highly likely that you may already be struggling which may be making you feel slight vulnerable or outside of your comfort zone, but to then be ridiculed or to be brushed aside, is not really worth it?
Although it’s not hard for me to ask for help when needed, I usually prefer to rely on myself. To me its, taking full responsibility for the situation and an opportunity to learn something. In order to be a rock, I need to be a rock myself and yes its OK to sometimes say I really don’t know what I’m doing and feel almost isolated but its a lot easier than disappointment. When such situations arise, I take the back seat, reflect and try to make sense of it all. It’s important for me to know and accept that some things are out of my control and punishing myself over it or looking for a solution is often not an option. As a ‘rock’ I’m able to empower myself with the experiences of others and learn. It’s important for me not to take things personally or to heart. This is what helps me, this is what sustains me and for me life is full of moments when you must be your own rock your own saviour. Its most definitely worth it and its fulfilling.
I place myself in the periphery of a group and try to help others according to my capabilities. When tired, I can take a break, no one really notices I’m taking it. When I’ve had a rest, I go and be useful again. I don’t ask for anything in return, I just enjoy being a part of the scene. I don’t aim high, I just be helpful. In this way, no one wants from me more than I am capable of giving and also I don’t feel “used”. I find my happiness there.
Over the years of my simple existence I have had many a conversation with people about love. What is it? What makes it so controversial and difficult to understand? The answers remain inconclusive but vague ideas have emerged. I have come to realise that love means very different things to different people and is also dependant on the type of character you are as well as what you have observed around you.
For me love happens to be a very open emotion. A feeling that not only liberates an individual but has to the power to destroy and reduce them to their lowest mental state. To love is to allow yourself and your partner to be free in all forms of character and personality. It’s not judgement free because love is honest not bias. When we love someone truly we will be honest with them, inform them of how we feel about them, their decisions and their choices. Ultimately though we allow the person to be free to make their choices even if it does not coincide with our views, opinions or needs because ultimately love does not restrict anyone, its primary aim is to allow for growth to occur. If our partners love us as much as we love them, they’ll allow us to express our feelings, views and opinions without hesitation as they will have the knowledge and understanding that what is being expressed is out of love and not control or disapproval. It’s also known as open communication.
Real love need not be physical all the time, although it is an element of it. For me, a real lover is the man who can thrill by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring at you. It is these actions which demonstrate that love is much deeper than physical attraction, it’s a connection, a bond and an attraction to a soul, perfect for you in all ways imaginable, even with their mistakes, flaws and limitations. You may not be your lovers first, last, or one and only, they still love you now, what else matters? Human perfection is impossible, neither of us will be perfect but together you may be perfect together. They can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes. Hold onto this person, they are very rare, give them the most you can, give them your heart, love, time and life. To love is not to think of the person every second of everyday, it’s the knowledge that they are with you everywhere you go, it’s the understanding and appreciation that they have given you a part of themselves that they know you can break – their heart, their thoughts, their feelings and above all their trust.
Love is not pain-free, lovers will hurt each other, yet it is knowing which pain is acceptable and which isn’t. True lovers won’t intentionally hurt us in any way, and therefore it is our responsibility to learn the intentions and or reasons behind the pain caused before we get emotionally carried away. I believe true lovers do not intentionally hurts their partners, do not attempt to change us but instead empower us to develop ourself. In love, our lovers do not analyse our movements and actions, yet instead seek to understand them, accept them and praise them.
Expectations in love is a tricky one. It’s wrong to say we have none at all, we all have them, some fewer than others perhaps. If I say I don’t expect anything then only I can be held responsible for not clarifying to my lover that dishonesty is not acceptable. The expectations I have would be based upon what the persons capacity is, honesty, open communication, understanding and trust. The rest is a gift, a surprise and an expression of the love our partner feels towards us. To expect a palace from a partner who is unable to give it to us makes us selfish, inconsiderate and demanding. Smile when they make you happy, let them know when they make you mad, and miss them when they are not there.
Love is a feeling which is felt but love as a feeling must also be expressed through our actions. The simplest form of love we can give is our attention. Listen to your partner talk, allow them to feel comfortable enough to express to their heart’s content. A flower, a cooked meal, a candle lit dinner, a walk, a drive, a sweet text message, a romantic email are all forms of action expressing love. It makes our partners happy because it makes them feel extra special, needed, important, desired and most of all loved. You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s always their actions that dictate their intentions. It’s actions, not words, that matter, because it’s so easy to say I love you, but at the end of the day its how we express it that shows our lover how much they mean to us.
Do not keep a lover waiting. There’s nothing worse than a tortured soul waiting for love. Love mean that you care for another person’s happiness more than your own, it does not mean making decisions about your relationship alone with the intention that it’s for your lovers own good, because no matter how well intended our intentions are, we must allow our lover the opportunity to makes their own choices and decisions. Remember love is freedom. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. A hard and often painful fact. Allow your love to be deep, so deep that when you sleep your lovers eyes close, when your lover is distressed you feel their discomfort and when they are happy you are at peace.
To love at all is to be vulnerable so allow your lover to be comfortable enough to be vulnerable. To love anything at all means there is chance your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact and pain-free you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries if your life; avoid all entanglements or attachments. Lock it away safe in the coffin of your selfishness yet remember in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it is highly likely to alter. Although it will remain unbroken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. This is not love. Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone’s bad qualities because they somehow complete you. No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater. The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences, it always will be and this is the key element. It’s like a round cake and the love in any relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.I’m not the silly romantic you may think me to be I don’t want the moon, the heavens, the shooting stars, the flashy car or the gold necklace. I don’t want diamonds or pearls. I have those things already. I want a strong and steady hand. A kind, gentle soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake each morning with the knowledge that my heart is safe, this soul is safe. I want to love, and be loved. The best kind of love is the type that awakens the soul and makes us encourages us to reach for more. This love lights a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.Every heart sings a unique song, incomplete and lonesome until another heart whispers back the words of incomplete verses. Those who wish to sing always find their song one way or another. What I want is to be needed, wanted, desired and supported. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody for the rest of our lives. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention and imperfections. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction between us. Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired by one! I love you means many things to different people. It means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you. It can mean I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, as well as I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.
So, there you have it. My idea of love. It may not make sense to all, and many will not agree but for me love is not something concrete. Love is ever evolving and has many different meanings for people, many may not even believe in love but for me love is eternal.
I wish you all love my friends and I hope it finds you in its own unique way.
The aptitude to put our own personal desires, needs and dreams aside on hold for a certain amount of time is a precious yet a rare virtue possessed by human: patience. But alas! The impatience of the mere human, we want what we want and we want it now! Therefore, giving the entire concept of patience an unpleasant and, at times, bitter connotation.However the simple act of waiting often proves to be difficult and unwelcoming. Adults are very much attuned to it and children know it too.The world in which we reside today has two-speed limits; fast or accelerated. In an instant it offers us fast food, movies, instant messaging,and answers to the most trivial or profound questions we may have. Humans are notoriously known for their not liking to wait. Very often we can observe people’s blood pressure rise while waiting in line at the supermarket, or when a driver moves slower than required.Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot claim our path, we cannot attain our destinations or achieve our goals. I have found that patience is often a purifying process which aids and refines our understanding, deepens our levels of happiness, focuses our actions, and offers hope for peace.But patience is much more than merely waiting. From my journey through life so far I have gained much experience particularly from my golden oldie friends. I’ve learnt that patience is much more than simply waiting for something to occur, patience was more like a practice run which requires us to actively work towards worthwhile goals without being discouraged with the possible when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort.There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, neither is it failing to act because of our fears.
Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something or someone,working together or in solitude, hoping, and exercising faith even when our end goal appears out of reach or unachievable. Patience means staying with something until its reached its most natural end. It means delaying our need for immediate gratification. It means having to rein in our anger and holding back the unnecessary unkind words. Above all it means remaining optimistic, positive, realistic and determined. Patience means accepting the circumstances as they are, particularly when they cannot be influenced and facing it with courage, grace, and faith; ultimately, patience means being firm and steadfast.
Often the most difficult times of our lives are the most essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness. It is at these, most crucial points of our lives that we need and must exercise patience because quite frankly our lives depend on it. Never give up on anyone and that includes not giving up on yourself. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness.
Impatience, on the other hand, can often be deemed a product of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed which leads individuals believing their needs, goals, ambitions are superior to that of others. All surrounding individuals are merely the supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role! Ha!
How many of us really have the patience to sit down and have a decent conversation with our frail parents? Which one of us takes the time out to talk to a lonesome person in need of company? We live in a fast paced society with all those around us moving at high acceleration leaving behind the frail, the elderly, the terminally ill, the lonesome, the lost and broken individual. There are so many people around us; the elderly couple whose children have flown the nest, the young man whose recovering from drug addiction, the middle-aged woman, a divorced mother of two young children, the homeless man in the city we walk past everyday outside the tube station, the young woman recovering from mental illness and to all those residential care homes. Do we have the patience to even notice them? Or have we all become too self indulgent to even care?
Here is a short, sweet lesson on patience. A NYC Taxi driver wrote:
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Young man, Would you please be kind enough to carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘My dear boy, Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Have you ever walked in the rain? I have, in fact I’ve just got in from walking in the rain and I had to share this experience.
It has been raining the entire day, heavy summer showers pattering on the windows of the training room was forcing me to secretly smile. My mind was diverted away from the trainer onto planning my journey home. Small fireworks of excitement exploding inside me. Finally, I thought the opportunity to get wet in this glorious summer rain! I finished my training session for the day and I stepped outside to a light drizzle of rain which started to become heavier. I plugged in my headphones, turned up my best tunes and started walking. The rain comes down fast, gently soaking through my hair, my coat, my bag and skin. The feeling is exhilarating, joyous and liberating. I am free, my soul is free. The rain hides my tears, it washes away my dirt, it cleans my mind. I receive strange looks from people yet I am beaming with laughter, lighting up with colour. My stride increases, but I am careful not to over step and fall. I feel like I am flying. The world is drowned out by my music and now by the rain, I am almost invisible.
The rain continues to fall even while I travel on the bus. I disembark a stop earlier and walk the rest of the route home. All the while the rain continues to nourish my soul and heal my pain, while hiding my limp. This is heaven on earth, really why would anyone want anything more than this real touch of God? It has rained on me before, the wind has blown at me too and the cold has frozen me too. They have all threatened me all at once too. But I have learnt, I have learnt to sing in the rain, ride with the wind and play with the cold too. They were the hardest conditions I have ever lived through. Now I love these conditions, I love the rain, I enjoy the feeling of it on my face and on my skin. What a wonderful feeling! The rain kisses me, it beats against my head gently blessing me and sings me a lullaby to sooth my anguish. The rain brings with it a renewed scent of the earth, a scent implying a new beginning, a clean start and an opportunity for growth. It cools the air, it cools the earth and it cools my flame of despair. It drive away my hunger for acceptance for now I am gracefully accepted.
I cry tears of joy resembling the rainbow of peace with a glimmer of hope. Oh do I love the rain so for it quenches my thirst so!
Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness.
Your job is to simply do your work…
Sacredly, secretly, and silently…
and those with ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’, will hear, – The Arcturians
When it comes to lifelong friends, I’m pretty unlucky. The many ‘friends’ I have had over the years have either been extremely selfish or full-blown drama shows. Traits such as being supportive, kind and genuine have more often that none been non-existent and the relationship a heavy burden to carry emotionally.
Moments such as sharing a funny story or joke, tears over lost love, a shopping spree or a good old wallow over a Ben and Jerry’s tub are either scarce or non-existent in my history. I have no complaints though, I have learnt a great deal from those who have been selfish or temporarily my best friend.
Now, I wont name any individual but a majority of my so-called ‘friends’ have the brilliant skill of disappearing without a trace or a word. I completely accept that some of my friends, particularly those I know well have genuine reasons to not be in touch and I have no complaints against them. However, I like many other people with certain friends have been through the time phase where I have called, text, and even emailed to no avail. Now I don’t bother and I learned a long time ago and the hard way to accept that this is the case for a large majority people I have crossed paths with. I realise that there have been common reasons for such a disappearance namely, a) I know it’s not personal at all but I just haven’t the time at present for even myself, b) ‘I’ve been genuinely and really busy’ and c) can’t be bothered perhaps? It’s ok my friend, I can take a hint.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet a high-ranking police officer which was published in the local newspaper. A friend who had fallen into the black hole of disappearance suddenly reappeared causing me some serious discomfort. She wanted to re-establish out friendship which I was unsure about at the time and even how to do. When we first became friends it was during a 3 week training session with a local charity and for a long period of time preceding this training we kept in touch regularly through calls, texts and meetings. Ours was not exactly an established friendship but it certainly wasn’t a new-born relationship and I truly believed that we had both invested a great deal into it, particularly emotionally. Then with a flash she disappeared completely, without a trace. I attempted to contact her through the usual mediums to see if she was OK, to chat and lastly to make sure she wasn’t mad at me for any reason but no, I was only to be met with silence. Took a while to recover from that one, she was once one of my best friends.
This is just one incident which I can recall, there have been many during school and university. Now my approach has changed, my attitude has changed. If I find that a friend has become a vanisher, I allow them to have their space if at all this is what they need otherwise I wish them luck on their journey through life. I completely accept that good friends do have the right to disappear for a bit, and it is a privilege which they have truly earned through proving themselves as friends. The few good and true friends that I do have call me a total pushover and believe this form of temporary emotional investment is so not healthy for me. Being totally honest I partly agree that yes it does hurt to go from being close to totally insignificant but you can’t change people, you have to either accept them as they are and/or start living life without them.
Am I right? or am I a total pushover? Many have called me a total pushover!
There is a new buzz word about town; ‘Volunteering’. Everywhere I seem to turn there’s a new voluntary position whether it be for a large national organisation or a small local support group, everyone seems to be in need of volunteers. I’ve never seen such high demand for volunteers and this demand isn’t just restricted to charities; corporate companies also expect their workers, particularly new recruits to have some form of voluntary experience in a relevant field. So it would appear that volunteering really is quite a powerful form of experience to have but just how powerful and to whose benefit?
The Job Hunter
When looking for work, it is essential that we give ourselves the right opportunity to be in with the best possible chance of getting a great paid position. With the present economy, secure jobs have become almost on existent and paid work in general has become scarce and due to no fault of our own, many of us have employment gaps, I included. Furthermore, these gaps cast a negative shadow over the many qualified individuals applying for one particular position and any potential employer is highly likely to look enthusiastically upon those who have filled such gaps with positive activities such as volunteering.
As a job hunter myself I have found that volunteering my time to worthy organisations can not only fill the gaps in our employment history, but also help build up our skills bank for when a job within chosen field becomes available. In the selected few job interviews I have attended recently, my voluntary activities have demonstrated to prospective employers that not only am I dedicated to work but I am serious about the field in which I want to develop my career and for me this is the compensation which drives me forward. In addition, my voluntary work has shown to my prospective employers my level of self-motivation, contributing to a work force which is diverse, fast-moving, rigorous and competitive.
In preparing for my career as a psychologist, volunteering with a diverse range of organisations has given me many important things. Firstly, it has provided me with a renewed and clear perspective for a career that is very involved and complicated. For me it was vital to obtain this form of real perspective in the field of psychology, the types of issues within the discipline, my co-workers and the environment in which I will be working. I have often asked myself, “Can I, as a person and as a trainee professional psychologist, see myself working in this environment and with this group of people?” The answer for me is yes.
I have enhanced my skills in areas such as communication, time management, team work and organisation which are not only transferable, they are uniquely applicable to the field in which I wish to pursue my career. Being a volunteer has meant that I develop these skills and learn the role at my own pace, at my own time without the pressure of targets, review meetings and performance appraisals. Oh the luxuries of volunteering!! There really is no real pressure to perform to what I believe is often an unrealistic standard for a new recruit and any incompetency’s or a lack of skills are addressed by the manager with enthusiasm to teach and develop rather than follow procedures. As a job hunter, I have found that volunteering has maintained my level of confidence and optimism. Very often, I have seen people’s level of confidence and self-esteem plummet during their job hunting due to unsuccessful applications however, much research as demonstrated that those who volunteer have a higher level of confidence than those who don’t. There is nearly no end to the ways in which an individual can learn and develop themselves while volunteering so long as they are willing to step outside of their comfort levels, look for adequate opportunities and try something new.
So my fellow job hunters, go ahead and volunteer, you never know you may just land yourself that dream job!
Boosting Mental Health and Well-being
We all know that volunteering provides the essential services to a wide range people who genuinely require them. But in addition to this, much research has demonstrated that volunteering also helps people manage their own mental health and well-being by receiving a genuine positive feeling for their contributions which is a commonly accepted fact.
When one is slightly depressed, feeling down, lacks a form of motivation or is genuinely bored with their day-to-day activities, it is these positive and uplifting emotions generated from volunteering which over time can alleviate these negative and depressing feelings. They can also increase the individuals sense of hope, optimism, self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation. Furthermore, these positive feel-good emotions allow us to divert our mind from our own problems and issues for a short period of time, which in turn allows us to revisit them with a new, often optimistic and realistic perspective. For example, I have found that when I came face to face with the complex and long-term problems of another, I have been forced to reflect on my own life and circumstances which has made me realise that there are things in my life that I really should be more thankful for and not take for granted so much. Another example I have seen so often on the news is when volunteers are helping clear a town or city destroyed by a disaster, it has forced me to view my own standing house and town from a different more thankful perspective. When providing assistance to someone in a hospital or a nursing home has helped me to realise how fortunate I am for my own health and the small aliments I do have really are quite small compared to that of the many people I have come across who have conditions which are much more debilitating. During Christmas time, when serving food to the many homeless men and women has reminded me that my small wages are something to be appreciated. Never underestimate the power of helping others when attempting to deal with our own problems.
Networking and Meeting New People.
What better way to boost your mental health and well-being than meeting and networking with like-minded individuals? Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded individuals whom you may not otherwise have an opportunity to meet. It is this association with people who are vastly different from ourselves and our differing circumstances that provides us with a much deeper understanding of the world in which we reside, as well as ourselves. I have found that it is not just interacting, working and helping the service users, it’s also the staff and other volunteers with whom I have worked that has given me a host of new friends. Furthermore, I have found that through group collaboration when facing a challenging situation, or raising awareness on a mutual issue can be a very bonding experience from which I have learnt and shared experiences. Go ahead, you never know who you might meet in your ventures!
It’s Great Great Fun!!
Believe it or not volunteering can be a huge amount of fun, and it certainly isn’t restricted to assisting or supporting people who are ill or suffering and are desperately in need some form of support. There are a vast number of volunteering opportunities dedicated to recreational activities. For example, volunteering at a local school or preschool as say a sports coach gives an individual the opportunity to become a child again and provide the children with an opportunity to become more involved with sport. Also, assisting in a fair or other community event can allow you to be creative while contributing to a good cause.
My next venture is to possibly volunteer abroad with children with learning disabilities particularly in India and as a result I am hoping this experience will enable me to develop a better understanding of the diverse needs of people in other countries. I would also like to organise a charity concert for terminally ill patients both young and old and much much more. The list really is endless and there are numerous ways volunteering can lead to fun and exciting adventures which can suit a diverse range of audiences. Often the end result can be very satisfying when you observe that your client group or service users have genuinely and positively benefited from your event and contribution.
This is just a small sample of good reasons to get more involved in volunteering. As you can imagine, volunteering can really have a very profound effect on the individuals who regularly make this commitment and often most people who aren’t volunteering have no idea of its effects. One of the main reasons volunteering is so powerful is because people actually choose to do it rather than it being a compulsory part of their life. Volunteering is highly appreciated and it allows us to contribute, develop as well as give back to our communities in our own unique. For me, it is the thrill of a new challenge and unique experience alongside the opportunity to make a difference where it really matters. I would say I’m a challenge junkie where I’m always looking to learn something and experience something new. I have a love for new places, new people and of course new voluntary opportunities.
So tell me what’s your voluntary experience? What made you want to volunteer?