It’s easy to get caught up in our own trials and tribulations. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and under pressure. How many times do you just wish time could stop and let you deal with shit, but instead it moves faster and adds more stressful situations and responsibilities to your life? Nobody said it was going to be easy, and it most certainly isn’t.
There’s no way to rid yourself of the rollercoaster life will inevitably put you on, but there are ways to make the ride less turbulent. One way that truly works for me is helping others. As cliché as it might sound, just help people.
Simple acts of kindness or really going out of your way to help someone deal with their stresses can really center you in ways you may not have thought were possible. More often than not, you’ll be able to relate with their situation in some way, and the realization that you’re not the only one stumbling and falling down this mountain help ease the impact.
A wise man once told me, “Everyone has a bag of rocks to carry, but sometimes we need to put ours down and help others with theirs, although you may see this as an inconvenience, I bet when you go back to pick yours up, it feels lighter.”
Everyone’s story is different, and not everyone will be able to relate with mine, but I figured I’d share something with ya.
I teach at an Alternative Learning Program for kids who find refuge outside of the traditional school system. These kids get sent to the program for a variety reasons, but most stem from the fact that their home life isn’t the best.
This job has saved me in a lot of ways. I’m a guy who can get caught up in moods and emotions, and instead of dealing with them I tend to become more withdrawn or isolated, this school has become my refuge. Mornings I used to lay in bed and wait until them emotions went away have turned into mornings of me rushing just to get my coffee and make it to work on time. I put all my problems on a shelf before I walk into the door, because truth be told, they really aren’t shit compared to what these kids have to face every day.
I have sat down and mentored children and heard unimaginable things, stories of hardship and neglect that would make my stomach turn, and found myself concentrating on my breathing to not let my emotions get the best of me. This has turned me into somewhat of an emotional rock for them, I am sure to never look shook, because I know it will only add to their stresses.
I start all my conversations with a handshake, maybe take a kid under my arm, and genuinely look in their eyes, simply asking, “You ok?” I have embraced this role not for praise (and to be honest I really feel awkward writing about it, I know people are going to hit me back like “OMG Mark you’re a good teacher blah blah blah, but this really isn’t for that) but because whether my kids believe it or not, they help me more than I help them.
I walk out of that building, go back to that shelf and grab my problems and emotions, only to realize they’re nothing compared to the hardships and heartbreak my students face 24/7. Without this, I might still be in bed, or have my headphones in stocking shelves like I used to.
It’s weird because many people see me as this outspoken and strong person. MAN. I am an emotional, insecure, and overwhelmed person just like anyone else. I just make a point to combat these emotions. God, for some reason, has put me in a position where many people feel comfort in coming to me with their problems. I’m cool with it, and I’m happy to help because it helps me. Seems selfish right?
I told Jah I had a meeting until 3 so he’d have to wait for a ride home … he said ok … I said I need to get 50 mins of cardio in and a leg workout done … he said ok I’ll play ball… I said work on your left … he said ok I won’t use nothing but my left …I walked up the stairs and spied on him to see him doing 100 diff moves and shots with his left …. I finished my workout… I walked up to him and said “you tired?” He said “yeah I’m tired as *explicit*” … I said watch your mouth we’re still in school… he said “ok my bad” …. I said “play me one on one” he said “ok” .. I said “I ain’t gonna go easy on you” .. he said “don’t gotta, you gonna lose anyways”… I said “ok” … I played him like a man and beat him .. I said “you got a better handle than I did at 14, if you wanna you can be a lot better than I was “ … he said “I’m gonna”… we laughed … we went To subway because he loves that meatball sub even tho I tell him Italians view it as a sin … he said “idc it’s smack” .. I laughed… we talked about his job interview tomm, he can’t wait to work..:… I smiled … my kids help me more than I could ever help them…. the end.
Well, go be selfish and help other people for your own serenity. Call up a friend you know has been struggling, talk to your older relatives that may be dealing with loneliness, ask that person at your job who looks like they’re about to break if everything is ok.
You can relate to anyone’s daily struggles, and when you learn you’re not the only one, it makes yours seem less severe.
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