Reaching Out - An Act with Two SidesPutting your hand out – sometimes we do it when we need help. Sometimes we do it to pull someone else up. No matter the reason why we reach out, this act can make a profound impact on someone’s life.

First we need to look at reaching out when we’re the one who needs help. It can be so difficult to ask for help sometimes. Often we feel like we should already have the answers ourselves. Maybe we feel we don’t deserve someone else’s help. Perhaps we’re scared our request for help will be rejected. But it’s so important for us to ask!

Asking for help shows that we think we’re important enough to stand up for ourselves. It shows that we recognise our own weaknesses and want to improve ourselves. It shows that we have the courage and strength to put ourselves out there in a vulnerable position.

As I have struggled with depression and anxiety, I have come to find that asking for help can be an empowering experience. Asking for help necessarily shows that we are accepting ownership of our problems. We’re not sitting back and suffering quietly, we want to take the steps that are needed to make ourselves better.

Checking myself into a psychiatric hospital was the first time I really felt like I was taking ownership of my issues with depression and anxiety, and in admitting that I needed such an intense level of help to solve my problems, I felt satisfaction that I was beginning to take responsibility for my own well-being. This conscious, single act was a life-changing shift in the way I looked at my own self-care.

So then, what can we say about reaching out to others who may need our help? Helping someone else in need can be a very rewarding and satisfying experience. But when we reach out in this way, we want to ensure that we’re doing so with the right intention.

When we reach out to help someone else, we need to make sure that giving that person what they need is our first priority. We might have a vast wealth of experience to draw upon, but if our primary intention is to satisfy our own egos – and not to provide help to another, we’re really not doing anything good. Reaching out to someone else needs to initially be a selfless act.

In making that selfless act, when we’re truly giving of ourselves, we open ourselves up to receiving the benefits of that giving. We all know what it’s like at Christmastime, when we’ve found just the perfect gift for someone – we get our reward in seeing their excitement and feeling their appreciation. It’s very similar with offering someone help.

Being genuine in our offer of help, and being genuine in the delivery of that help, opens us up to the full experience of helping someone else. That experience includes seeing someone else in a vulnerable light as well as exposing ourselves in a vulnerable way – and this vulnerability is what makes a genuine and mutually satisfying connection between two people.

I recently offered to reach out to a friend’s teenage child who was suffering from depression for the first time. I’ve got plenty of experience with depression and I started my own suffering in my late teens. But what I’ve found is that offering help can be trickier than it seems. There are times when my help is genuine and I’ve seen the teenager opening up to me. But there have also been times when my ego’s taken over and I’ve said things just to get the kid to like me, only to be quickly shut down by a one word response. It’s only been when my intention to help has been true that I’ve felt like the experience has been beneficial for both of us.

Reaching out can be an act of bravery, an act of desperation, an act of generosity, and an act of compassion. What we receive from these acts depends on where we sit and what our intentions are when these acts are performed. But under the right circumstances, with the right intentions, the act of reaching out can be a powerful, moving and even life-changing experience for all the people involved.

Jason Large,

Daily Zen.

Author Bio – Jason has suffered from depression and anxiety for over twenty years. He can be contacted on his Facebook.