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Make the Connection? November 28, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
Tags: , , ,

220px-Suicidemessageggb01252006 OK, I’m sitting in the Borders Cafe where I usually write my Sunday posts and right in front of me is a woman who has on a brand new coat. How do I know this? Because the tag is hanging off the underarm of the coat….tell her or not?

Just got back from telling her. I myself get embarrassed when I have tags hanging off of my clothes and yes, I could have let it go but I decided that I’d want someone to tell me.

The topic of today’s post is connection—that is, our connections to other people. What brought this up for me is an interview that I saw on television a few weeks ago. The interview was with a man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge for the express purpose of killing himself. (I mean why else would you jump off the Golden Gate, right?) Since he was giving an interview it’s easy to figure out that he didn’t die. I know—stating the obvious. But what he has done since then is to work with others who have attempted or are contemplating suicide. One could say he has an insider’s view.

One of the most profound things he said was that as he hit the water he realized that he didn’t really want to die. He wanted to take it back and in his case he got to do that. He went on to say that he had spent the two hours prior to his jumping, walking back and forth on the bridge in a very emotional state. And yet, even though the Golden Gate has been the scene of more than 1200 suicides since it was completed in 1937, no one interacted with him in any way. (In fact, the Golden Gate Bridge has had more suicides than any other bridge in the world.) Read up on suicide bridges if you like.

His assessment is that if someone had connected with him even in some small way, he would have had hope to go on. And he is now making it his life commitment to do that for other people.

Now on to my point—and as usual I do have one. Connection with other human beings is a basic need of everyone—even though at times a person may insist that it’s not.  And yet, connecting with others for the purpose of helping is something we often avoid. I’m not talking about friends and family. I’m talking about people whom we don’t know well  or at all. How many times have you elected not to connect with another person because you were too busy, too suspicious, too fearful, or too whatever?

I know I have. Remember my post a few weeks ago about being kinder than necessary? Well, this is certainly in the same spirit. Now I’ m not suggesting that you have to connect with everyone who asks or who seems to need help. However, I am suggesting that you could up the ante a bit in that department. Sometimes something that costs us relatively little in time, effort, money, etc can make a huge difference to another person. And so what if it costs us a little something?

So as we enter our winter holiday time…how about joining me in making a connection, offering help or just making eye contact with someone who seems to need it? Let’s go large—how about doing it once a week? I’ve done my part—I told the woman about her hanging tag (or is that chad?) And I think I could do even more.






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