Thanks to social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, we see memes all the time. Most are funny, others are wildly inappropriate, some are actually worth sharing. While browsing an unlikely source, LinkedIn - a networking site for career-building, a bit of life-building inspiration struck a chord in my heart.
"Be the person you needed when you were younger."
Seems like a simple phrase said by an anonymous tweeter or graphic artist, which upon first glance can seem trite. However, when I read this post I instantly felt the deeper meaning of what it was trying to convey...
What did I need when I was younger? What was missing? How did that void shape my view of the world?
If we each think of that thing, or things (spiritual, social, familial, etc.) that were missing from our formative years and how it affected our transition into adulthood, we may discover that though we are older, the wounds remain. The blanks of our childhood can leave holes in our adulthood. We all have our scars; but over time, growth, understanding, prayer, therapy, and other coping mechanisms are available to help us heal and move forward. For those of us who struggle with the wounds from the past, please consider healthy outlets and solutions to deal with your pain. Your well being depends on it, and there is a freer existence out there once you let go of the trauma of the past.
Now how can we fill in the blank for others? This is a simple yet difficult question at the same time. Though we are unable to give what we do not have, it is possible to understand what we lack and resolve to break the cycle. For some, that may mean that they put a 100% effort into being a great parent because their own parent left them behind. For another, it may mean that they are accepting and inclusive of all people, because they know how it feels to be the outcast and feel alone. The complex answers can dig deep into our innermost thoughts of belonging and self acceptance. The good part is, the lessons that you have learned and the strength that you have gained over the years can be shared with someone who may need you the most.
There is a kid out there who is missing out on a relationship with his dad... so join a mentoring group and make a new friend!
Your niece is acting out because she feels ignored... be the cool aunt and give a listening, non-judgmental ear.
There is a new grad who doesn't know the ropes or have connections at the office... introduce them to your network or give that person advice on navigating the company.
Take the hurts or missteps from your past and use them as a tool to relate to those who need the benefit of your insight, knowledge, and encouragement. Be the person that you needed when you were in their shoes.
Fill in the blank.