I know I usually write really long articles, but I’m going to avoid doing that today. I think keeping it short and sweet will help me get my point across. Hopefully a shorter article will be helping my readers as well.
So, I don’t sleep very well some nights. That’s probably not much of a surprise. I certainly wasn’t surprised when I found myself unable to fall asleep last night (I had taken a nap after work that probably messed up my sleep cycle), but I was surprised at how awful I felt. I was so depressed that it physically hurt; it felt like I was being crushed from the inside. I hadn’t had a day that bad in several months, and the pain brought back a lot of unpleasant thoughts and memories. Once again, I started to feel like death would be a whole lot better than continuing to live.
Luckily for me, I have wonderful parents. They both took care of me and made sure that I was safe when I was feeling down, and my mom gave up sleeping in her own, far more comfortable bed so that she could lay next to me until I fell asleep. Even at two o’clock in the morning, she was right there when I needed her. I don’t think my mom sleeps enough as it is, so I know she must have been extremely tired last night, but she didn’t show it. She didn’t care. All she cared about was keeping me safe and helping me.
A Small Sacrifice
My mom’s actions may not seem terribly significant, but that’s kind of the point. She’s my mom, and plenty of moms (especially ones with newborns) sacrifice sleep to make sure that their children are safe and happy. It’s inconvenient, sure, but it’s worth it in their minds. As I was lying awake, I began to wonder, “Is my mom doing this because she’s my mom, or is she just doing it because she’s a good person?” Of course, those two aren’t mutually exclusive, which leads me to the point of this article. What would the world be like if we all made those little sacrifices whenever someone, even if we didn’t know them, needed help?
I know this idea isn’t necessarily world-changing. Plenty of good people are already willing to help those in need at all hours of the day. All we really need to do is build upon that. We just need to challenge ourselves to go the extra mile in our everyday lives and do the things that we would want other people to do for us. Hold the door open for those few extra seconds, slow down to let that car who needs to turn get in your lane, and offer support to those who seem like they’re having a rough day.
I know I’ve made this point before, but I want to make it again. Those little things, those seemingly insignificant actions that don’t require much effort on our part can still make a world of difference in the lives of others. Not only that, but being kinder to others can help us feel better in our own lives. Some of my best shifts at work have been on days when I worked a little bit extra to help someone who needed it. I could see the difference that it made in their day, and some of them even told my managers about how I had helped them. Actions that hadn’t seemed all that important to me were important enough to those people that they wanted to tell someone about it. That’s crazy.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; I was feeling really suicidal last night, and I don’t know what would have happened if my mom hadn’t stayed awake to help me. On the surface, a mom staying awake and helping her child who isn’t feeling well doesn’t seem all that extraordinary, but for me, it could have very well been the difference between life and death. Sometimes saving a life is a lot easier than you would think.