The Human Connection

I am one of those people who brings a wallet full of spare change to New York City,  for the sole purpose of giving to beggars. I guess it stems from the internal struggle I have with simply walking past suffering and desperation. I can’t look at a person sitting on a curb with a sign that says “please help” and not wonder what pain they endure each day, how lonely they may be, or what heavy burdens of their past anchor them to their place of suffering. But this life–sometimes not so gently–reminds us that we cannot always help others. That, as hard as it may be,  there are times when you must walk past the man who wears his misery on his tiresome face. Whose eyes are watering with a raw agony tugging so hard at your heartstrings that it feels as though you might break into a million pieces. Occasionally I find myself in situations where the key to helping someone, the one that could unlock the chains of hardship imprisoning them is on a shelf that’s just out of my reach. I could try to balance on something to reach it, but I may fall and get hurt in the process. I have struggled for years with this dilemma of whether or not I should try to reach certain keys. However, it was just a few days ago that a friend offered some clarity on the matter. She told me “Julia, you can still care for someone without giving them something.”  I thought about what that meant for a while, and I came to realize the truth embedded in those words. You don’t need to drop spare change into someone’s hat to show them that you care, or even to help them. Sure, food, water, and shelter fall before the necessity of love and feeling of belonging on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but we as human beings should not discount the value of these psychological needs. I have come to understand that the power to help people lies not within one’s monetary value but rather within their ability to empathize with others. Many say human beings are inherently selfish. I believe our greatest potential is unlocked when we work to overcome this idea and attempt to put others before ourselves. Smile at the person who cannot find it in them to smile themself. Give someone a hug just because you can. Tell people that you care about them as a human being and not as a charity case. Let yourself feel sad for others…it means you care! The greatest gift one can give is often something that all people are innately born with: The human connection. I’m not saying that people should never use money to show that the care about someone, but rather to understand that showing someone that they carry an importance on this earth can go just as far. To that friend who led me to this realization( you know who you are) I say thank you. Thank you for reminding me that we are inherently given the power to help others . I think its amazing that we have such a capability as the human connection. I know I intend to use mine in this BIG BEAUTIFUL LIFE


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