When I went to Eden Community Camp last May, the country manager, Peter Lefort, did a rousing talk about lighthouses, part of which you can read here. Peter made reference to a conversation he had with a lady at one of the previous camps where she commented on the loneliness of lighthouses:
They stand, she said, emitting all this light, but not being sure if anyone has seen it. They can save lives, but might never know it. Without feedback it is impossible to see the impact of where its light has reached, or which boats it has set back on course.
Peter talked about how this was true of the room full of community activists he was addressing that day, myself included. He explained that doing your best to spread love and light in your community can often feel very lonely, especially if you don’t get told that what you’re doing is making a difference. He made a point I had never really considered before and that was about the power and impact of telling people they are appreciated.
Everything I do to spread positivity, in every form, from the blogs, articles, voluntary work, big lunch, my work for Age UK, The Happy You Project, every single thing is to try and help people in some tiny way. I want to make sure that if there is something that I can do to make the world a better place, that I’m doing it. I never went into any of it looking for thanks or praise but to know that what I’m doing is helping, definitely spurs me on.
I received a message this week on facebook from a lady in Dubai. She had read my HuffPostUK blog and decided to reach out. Her words were so lovely, I sobbed after reading the message. She thanked me for sharing my story and for being brave because it had bought her comfort right when she needed it. She said:
Even if you don’t hear from most of us, please know, truly and deeply know that you are making a difference every single day. You matter. Your words matter and I am so grateful I stumbled across you today.
She could have just read the article, thought it was nice and moved on with her day. Instead, she took the time to find my facebook page and message me. It made my day. Actually, it made my week.
Four months ago I had a message out of the blue from someone I had never met. Our lives had become rather negatively intertwined many years earlier because of a boy we both loved. I had reached out to her maybe seven or eight years ago during a difficult time she was having with said boy and sent her a message of support. It was important for me to do so because I wanted her to know I had been there and that I knew what he was like. All these years later, she messaged me tell me about the impact of my message and how much it had helped her. It meant a lot to me hear that.
During The Happy You Project’s first well-being workshop that we ran this week (which went amazingly well by the way *happy dance*), I invited the participants to write positive observations about each other. It was a lovely exercise not only for those receiving the compliments but for those giving them. Letting people know what you appreciate about them and specifically what they have done to positively impact your life is a wonderful gift.
Since I started the blog, there have been lots of examples of people reflecting back the light I try to shine and every time it comes back to me, it’s overwhelming and beautiful and normally makes me cry happy tears. It’s so lovely, that it’s something I want to do more of for other people. So where ever I can, I’m going to tell people what they mean to me and give them feedback that they’re doing a great job. Let’s be lighthouses and shine directly at each other because I really feel like the world needs more light.