Guest post by trip volunteer: Kierston Cook
How other people’s stories became my own.
After spending 7 days visiting 3 different villages that Humanity and Hope United Foundation partners with to create sustainable changes, I feel like I learned more on this trip than 25 years of living life. These ideas came from the people I traveled with, the people that live in the villages and the people that help make this foundation a reality.
I heard this word several times throughout my time here and I think most of everyone reading this can admit to struggling with accepting where they are in life at times. Whether you are 18 years old and about to start your journey into college, 25 and have no clue what you are doing, or maybe you are 35 and you have called off one engagement and you aren’t sure if you will ever find your person and it’s scary waiting around and not knowing. I believe where you are is where you are always supposed to be. God has called you to His plan and not your own. So when you feel overwhelmed, alone or scared, take a breath and step outside. Feel your heart start to calm and remember to be content whatever stage you are at in life. Life isn’t a race, we aren’t competing with our neighbors who seem to have it all figured out. Your life is your journey and no one else's. Let’s enjoy the ride.
Don’t borrow worry.
Maybe you have heard this before but yesterday is gone and tomorrow has yet to come. Actually, 5 mins ahead of you has yet to come. So why are you so concerned with what you are going to eat for dinner when it is breakfast? Why do you worry that you might not be paying off your debt until you 40? Why do we worry that your heart might get broken by the person you just met? Why do we conjure up all these fears that may or may not even happen? So don’t borrow worry from yesterday, tomorrow or even in the next 5 minutes. Be present where you are and revisit idea one.
When people show you who they are, believe them.
I think this can be a tough pill to swallow. So often we want to believe that people can change and don’t get me wrong people can most certainly change. But people will only change when they are ready to change. Not because of anything or anyone else. We make excuses for the people we love. Especially if you have a huge, caring and giving heart. You are going to create a million justifications for why someone did what they did. But just trust me, some things are more black and white then they seem. At the same time, remember the goodness and love someone has shown you before and maybe when they show you a bad card, they are just having a bad time in life and need you to show them the love you know they are capable of.
We all have our own. That sounds so obvious. What can you learn from someone else’s perspective? The way you see a given situation is never going to be equivalent to the way your partner or neighbor sees that situation. As simple and obvious as this is, we seem to forget this. We seem to forget that there is a communicator and a receiver and the way people receive information will always be a little different. It's important to remember that and then try to understand accept the other perspective. There is a healthy balance that can usually be met.
Share your story.
It’s a scary thing to do. Even while writing this I can think of how closed off I am to most people. We usually want to put smoke filled mirrors up and pretend some of the things that have happened in our lives, didn’t actually happen. It might be that we are ashamed of our past or we are afraid of the judgment we would get if people actually knew what our story was. But let this be the most obvious reminder ever, we are all human. We share a lot more than you think. Sharing your story makes you a little more vulnerable but it might speak volumes to another person. I mean think of everything I just shared with you, it came from other people who decided to let me into their story.