There’s a story and, while I have no idea where it originated (urban legend? true tale spread through social media?), each time I read it I think:
YES. This. This is why we should smile, connect, wave to strangers.
The anecdote varies each time I encounter it, but its essence remains something like this:
I noticed my friend would wave to people when we were out walking together.
I noticed my friend would wave and smile at people when we would drive places together.
My friend was always waving and smiling at strangers.
Most of the time the people gave her funny looks.
Much of the time they neither smiled nor waved in return.
I finally asked my friend why she did this and she responded:
I’ve read a lot written by people who’ve attempted suicide and weren’t successful.
These people consistently said if just one person had smiled or waved at them they would have felt *seen* and might not have tried to kill themselves.
So I smile. And I wave.
feeling even fleeting connection can change lives.
This story gets me every time.
Sure I’m aware, whether it happened or not, it oversimplifies depression and suicide.
And yet, mornings when we wake and wonder What can I do for someone else today?, the answer really can be as easy as smile and wave.
This story gets me every time because, whether it happened or not, it highlights the lack of connection many feel.
It underscores how feeling “seen” (no matter how briefly) may make all the difference.
And so that’s my ask of you today.
A request you make time to smile, wave and connect with a stranger.
It can be a virtual-stranger (a message, tweet or fb posting checking in on him/her).
It can be a literal-stranger (I love to do this in my ‘hood whilst walking the Doodle).
And, as with our may-or-may-not-be-true tale, we might never know the impact of our efforts.
When it comes to being the light, however, we’ve got absolutely, positively nothing to lose.