Whilst in the US last week, away from the sanctity of the beautiful Roseland peninsula, my eyes were opened once again of the harshness of life for many. I’ve certainly not lived a sheltered life and my years of helping at the homeless mission at Berlin’s train station was impactful, to say the least.
But seeing the homelessness again, the vulnerable and invisible, those who have dropped through society’s paper-thin radar, was moving. But how can we help these people? What we perceive becomes a reality, so I feel the best way to help someone who has lost touch with who they truly are is to help them see themselves through our eyes.
At this time of giving, rather than walk past a person, maybe we should consider showing them how worthwhile they are. Listen to them. You’d be astonished just how helpful an empathetic ear can be. Look them in the eye and smile, even if you just walk past. If you’re brave enough and have time, why not take someone for a sandwich rather then give them the money for one?
We never know quite how powerful a simple act of kindness can be. Halle Berry, Daniel Craig and even Charlie Chaplin were all homeless at one point in their lives. They got back on their feet through the grace of others; people who believed in their potential and refused to believe what they saw is all they had.
We have the power to be that light for someone else so despite what their predicament, I will continue to see them as powerful, confident and respected members of the community because I know my perception is where their change can start.