Heal your heart by paying it forward.
No matter what broke your heart; a divorce, a break-up, a separation, or even a death, time heals all wounds. We all have choices, we all have situations, but we all have one thing in common. We all have a heart. Broken or not, no matter how bad you are hurting, some one else is hurting more than you. If we can remember this, we may be able to "give" a tiny piece of our heart to someone. And when we give, we always receive. It is called Karma, and whether you believe in it or not, I believe it definitely exists.
My friend Megan called me crying one evening. Her heart was aching after her husband walked out on her. As I listened to her cry, I wanted to reach through the phone and wipe away her tears. Her heartache was so real, and so deep. At a loss for words, I referred myself back to a remedy for pain my grandmother taught me years ago. My grandmother's words changed my life.
Nervous and weary, I quickly stopped Megan in her tracks and said, "Do you have your health, healthy children, a roof over your head, and food on the table?" "Yes," she replied. And there, my grandmother's speech rolled off my tongue… "Somewhere out there; someone's heart is breaking more than yours. Somewhere out there, someone does not have any of those, or only has one of those blessings." Her tears stopped. Although her heart was broken, she now had a choice on how she was going to handle her situation. We continued talking and I brought her to the "Pay It Forward" theory. When you receive, you give something back to someone, you "Pay It Forward" and you keep giving. Before you know it, you will have received. Maybe not what you want, but you will receive what you need.
Our conversation ended on a positive note, and Megan began to give with what little happiness she had, with the small amount of pride that was left in her soul. It was awkward at first, but after a few days, she started to feel better. We met for coffee two weeks later. Turns out, within that short span of time, Megan had donated food to the local food drive and given away her soon-to-be ex's clothing to a charity. She started to realize, that although she was broken, someone out there was worse off than she. My grandmother, once again, had taught the "Pay it Forward" theory to someone, this time through me. Whenever someone smiles, Megan now smiles back and then smiles at the next person. For every door held open for her, Megan holds the door open for the next several people. It became fun, and it filled her heart with joy. Slowly but surely, inch by inch, the focus was taken off Megan's pain, and was outwardly given to others.
With the holidays approaching, you do not have to be alone. Small acts of kindness go a long way! Here are a few things you can do to keep busy, and "Pay It Forward":
1) Donate to a food or coat drive:
Food and coat drives are always looking for donations. Keep busy and clean out your attic, your closets, and your pantry. Check your local Pennysaver for any community fundraisers, and donate your unwanted items. You should feel some sort of comfort inside knowing you helped someone in need. Not only have you kept busy cleaning and sorting, and making room for your "new" life, you have helped someone in the interim. It is a win-win concept.
2) Volunteer at a local shelter:
Local animal shelters are always looking for food, shredded paper, dog walkers, and caretakers. If you are alone this holiday season, you may want to call your local animal shelters and see if you can volunteer. There is nothing sweeter than the unconditional love of an animal. You may end up saving a life, and gaining a new companion.
3) Volunteer your time to help those at a soup kitchen:
Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Call ahead of time and make reservations to help those in need. This is more of a hands-on service with a lot of gratitude involved. Some kitchens offer clothing, and toys, so you may have another opportunity to clean out your closets. Giving to those who need more than ourselves, brings things into perspective. Remember Scrooge, who helped Tiny Tim at the end of that holiday story? If selfishness and greed in someone can be dissolved, could imagine what it can do for loneness or depression? As Mother Teresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one". Do whatever you are comfortable with, and be prepared to feel a thousand times better. You may have found yourself a new calling. When one door closes, two new ones open.
4) Help a Child in Need:
Operation Christmas Child takes up donations of shoe boxes filled with small gifts or items and sends them to children around the world who wouldn't have a Christmas. You can also contact your local church, synagogue, civic organizations, or even your Town Hall may help to find a child in need. Contact organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and offer your services as a mentor or whatever is available in your community. According to livestrong.com, "Determine which donation program is right for you based on the amount of time and money you want to invest. Programs such as Toys for Tots allow you to drop off a new toy geared toward any age level of your choosing, while Adopt a Family-style programs contain guidelines and wish lists for specific children based on their gender, ages and preferences. Some programs, such as the Salvation Army, also ask you to provide food for a holiday meal and gifts for parents." There is something special about helping a child receive a little something extra during the holidays.
Remember, for every heart that is broken, there is someone else in a similar, maybe worse situation. Give a little bit of your heart, spread some cheer, and watch karma bring you the peace and gratitude you deserve. Have a Happy Holiday season.
This article was originally published at Shine. Reprinted with permission from the author.