What if I told you there are two things you can do to help save someone’s life. Would you do it?
There are two things that all of us are capable of doing that can help save someone’s life. This may come more natural to some of you, but for some of us, we may have to work on it.
The First One is Listening
Notice that I didn’t say hearing; there is a big difference in listening and hearing. I love the way Mental Health First Aid teaches about listening. It talks about listening without judgement. This means listening just to hear what the other person has to say and to learn why they are hurting. One of my favorite people, Grateful Berthia spoke at our recent conference and he stated “Listening saved my life”. He was talking about Highway Patrol Sergeant Kevin Briggs. Even before Grateful Berthia knew who it was listening to him, he knew he was being listened to. That is one example of how important and powerful listening can be. Grateful Berthia shares in his TedxTalk all about the Impact of listening
|Grateful Berthia presenting at #SEMOSP16|
The Second One is Share Your Story
With at least one out of five people struggling with some type of mental health concern in any given year, there are a lot of people with lived experience in the world. When sharing their story in an appropriate way, people with lived experience can be very beneficial to helping others who may be having the same or similar struggles. PLEASE NOTE: you should only share your story when you are comfortable and only share what you are comfortable with sharing.
It took me almost twenty years before I was ready to share my story. I can tell you that it has been rewarding and therapeutic for me, but it has also been scary at times.
1. Make sure you want to share your story
2. Know why you want to share your story
3. First share your story with one or a few people you trust and feel comfortable around. I remember the first person I told my whole story to was Heather Williams. She listened and I did not feel judged so I shared with a few other co-workers. As my confidence grew, I began to share it openly, when I feel it is appropriate or beneficial to help someone else.
4. Be prepared for the emotions you may feel after sharing your lived experience
My friend Josh Rivedal is an international speaker who helps share the value of telling your story. When presenting, he helps explain how sharing a story can be very helpful, beneficial, and inspring. Josh believes in this so strongly he decided to have a book series called the iMpossible Project o far there is one book in the series in which 50 different people share their story; the stories show just how powerful and resilient humans can be.
|Josh Rivedal performing part of his story #SEMOSP16|
Imagine a world where people can feel safe to share their story and know that they will be listened to (non-judgmentally). This is the world I am working towards in my own life. I think we have so much we can learn from each other, if we only listened. I think we all can benefit from being listened to as well.