That great feeling when…

That great feeling when you share something with someone that they’ve never heard of before, and they end up loving it.

I also love the reverse- someone telling me about something that I didn’t know before, which is primarily how I’ve come to love the things I love. All because someone shared it with me.

We don’t all know everything, and sharing information, especially  in the age of information is one of my favorite things to do.

A quote that accompany’s this would be, “No two people ever read the same book.”

I learned this concept similarly when I was in college taking my Communication classes; the concept that no two people will ever have an exact same experience. They may experience the same event and their reactions may seem the same, but they are having different experiences based on who they are, their knowledge, and their own individual database of lived experiences.

I love when I recommend a book, an album, a song, an artist to someone and they come back and share their perspective and thoughts. It’s always nice when you feel validated and like minded, but even more so when someone has a completely different reaction and makes you see something that wasn’t there before.

I’ve always felt uneasy about the way we try to shove each other into boxes with labels and tags because we’re too short on time to actually try to invest the time to reveal who we all really are. We’re cheating ourselves out of greater understandings. That’s why when people feel the need to explain themselves to me, I want to tell them, “It’s okay – I’m going to accept you, with or without the explanation. I’d love to have a deeper understanding, but please don’t feel you need to explain yourself so that I will accept you.”

As Brené Brown’s words so deeply touched me this year, they have impacted and sustained the way that I see people – “You’re not perfect […] You’re worthy of love and belonging.”

One of my favorite things to share with people is Post Secret.

I have seen Post Secret Live twice, both times at the Lyman Center at SCSU. The first time I went, I was with my two friends I had known since childhood. They encouraged me to go, having just lost a dear friend to suicide. When I realized the impact Post Secret was having in a positive way on mental health, I cried. The catharsis was overwhelming, and impacted me profoundly. To hear people reveal their secrets, to feel the love and acceptance that strangers felt for each other, gave me a renewed sense of hope for myself and anyone I would ever encounter.

The second time I saw Post Secret Live, I went with a new friend from work who was completely unfamiliar with the concept. I remember being a bit nervous, fearing she would think it too much or that it would have a negative affect on her and make things weird for us. Instead, we ended up sitting in the car after the event and talking and relating to each other. That night developed a deep rooted exchange of respect for where we had been and where we wanted to be. Now, we can look at each other and understand better than most what our victories look like, and appreciate the love and support we showed each other on the way.

Seeing people bravely releasing their secrets, and being able to sit with the Post Secret books (which I purchased all of with a tax return a few years ago) and feel connection, empathy an love for thousands of total strangers ingrained in me the sentiment that I could encounter them at anytime- at work, on the street, even within my closest friends group. People live with, and harbor secrets sometimes their whole lives, afraid of what their life might be if those secrets came out.

So now it will make sense that the other thing I love most to share is Humans of New York. HONY and Post Secret seem to work in tandem in the sense that they allow us to see and feel for those around us, whether we can see them clearly or not. To share our love and acceptance for people through the medium of social media, which frankly, is my favorite purpose of it.

I can’t tell you how many times (3 this morning) that I’ve looked at the HONY page on Instagram and felt my eyes tear up because of a story someone shared. It could be a sentence or it could be a paragraph, it doesn’t matter. I will still feel the impact.

The HONY books are definitely on my wishlist, and I look forward to making the time to sit down and read each story.

Both of these projects also reflect the philosophy so spoken centuries ago by PLATO, ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’  Post Secret and HONY do a beautiful service in reminding us of this.

We move through our days so quickly, sometimes too quickly to stop and actually see those around us, even those we see everyday for 8 hours a day. I’m not saying that every day need be filled with the oversharing of one’s most intimate detail, but we shouldn’t be so afraid of sharing what’s going on. People don’t have to share anything with me to make me realize that they contain worlds within themselves; other lifetimes and thoughts vast and limitless.

Both HONY and Post Secret have helped me to approach all people with love and understanding. Isn’t that what we all want?

I encourage you to have your own journey and reactions by visiting the sites. I cannot prepare you for what you will see or experience, but please take care, and I hope it feeds your soul as much as it continues to feed mine.

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