There are lots of things a community can do to prevent a suicide. It doesn’t mean they have to start a group or a club. It can be done on an individual basis just by keeping a few simple things in mind. Maybe you think it’s a stretch to imagine that you can have a hand in preventing the suicide of someone you don’t know. You could very well be wrong.
We’ve all had those really awful days when we wonder why we even bothered to get out of bed. The stress of the day seems to just pile up. It sometimes seems that the more upset we are, the more things happen to make us upset. Is it something we are projecting or is it something we are receiving. Both. We have the ability to project negativity that people respond to. We also have the choice to be the one that responds to someone else’s negativity.
Here’s a simple scenario for you to consider.
You walk into the gas station. A young man bumps into you on his way out. You expect an apology, but when you turn around he simply glares at you and hustles off. You may a rude comment and go about your business.
Now the flip side.
A young man has an argument with his girlfriend, the mother of his child. She’s upset because they have no money. They have a baby together and the baby needs things. In the middle of the argument, the young man’s mother calls him. She tells him about a job that is 30 miles away. He explains that the car is broke down and even if he got the job, he wouldn’t be able to get there. Muttering under his breath, he digs through the couch scraping change together. He walks to the gas station only to find that he doesn’t even have enough to get a small pack of diapers. He rushes out the door, angry with himself and hating life. He bumps into you on the way out. He’s even more embarrassed and rushes off, feeling as if he can’t do anything right and thinking that you summed up his failures with your rude remark.
Now, obviously, it wasn’t just a remark that upset him. Had you known how his day was going, you may have been more compassionate yourself. But, you didn’t know and you just responded to the here and now. You may just been the last person to speak to him. Do you want to carry that burden when you see his picture in the paper later that week? I know I don’t.
It’s so easy to get lost in our own world. We forget that we have a duty to our fellow man. If we cold just display some common courtesy along the way, we could serve ourselves and each other much better. Imagine the impact you could have on your community if you were compassionate, even to a stranger. It’s not only good for the mental health of the community, it’s good for your own.
Try an experiment. Spend just one day out in your community. Say something friendly to a stranger. Give yourself the rule of smiling at everyone you see. If you say anything, make sure you say something positive. Not only will you get a positive result, but you will have induced other positive attitudes.
Think about the last time you said something rude. You said it. You were angry. You thought about the incident later and felt irritated again. You blame the person that you said something rude to, but you are responsible for your own actions. You are creating your own issues that could drag on throughout the day. All this over one comment.
It really does take a community to prevent a suicide. Even the smallest things we say or do have an impact on others as well as our own mental health. Not only do they impact others directly, but any children watching are learning how their community works. When they grow up, they might just perpetuate the cycle even longer. Wouldn’t you rather give them something positive to look forward to?