To give is to receive. This is one of the basic precepts of life that seems to endure the ages.
We all have been the recipient of a kind gesture, word, money or some other item of value. Do you remember how you reacted? Did you say thank you and forget about it or was there some return of the gesture, not necessarily to the person who gave it to you, but a response generally to give to others in response to the good deed done on your behalf. The truest form of gratitude is to give back something to others.
When I was in the closet, I remember instances of people reaching out to me to encourage and support me. At the time I wasn’t ready to take that dramatic step forward and come out of the closet. I kindly said “thank you” and proceeded to shuffle their kind words to the back of my head thinking I could never do what they were encouraging me to do.
I have told but very few people about my darkest hour of self-doubt when I was in my 20’s. I was enmeshed in fear; fear of what lay ahead in my life but more importantly, the fear of coming to grips with who I truly was. Yes, I toyed with the idea of committing the ultimate deed of self-deprecation; suicide, and was planning my escape from my closeted torture.
Unlike so many other LGBT youth, I did not obviously choose this path. I remember the moment I decided not to kill myself as clear as if it were just a mere hour ago. I began to think of the many people that loved me, who cared for me and wanted nothing but the best for me, as well as all those who encouraged me to be strong and continue my path forward. I decided I could not let them down. I am so grateful that people reached out to me with so many acts of kindness that I needed to repay them by coming to grips with my reality.
Take the time to give of yourself to someone who needs it. Do not defer this obligation to someone else. You do not know whose life you may be saving by just offering a kind word, thought or smile to someone who needs it that may not be outwardly expressing that need. Do not shut your eyes to humanity.