Showing Up and Finding Purpose
Many years ago, when I was depressed and feeling incredibly lost, I got a call from a friend that significantly changed my life.
I just dropped out of college earlier in the year and I had suffered some major failures trying to get my business off the ground. Almost all my failures were directly linked to being trapped in a cycle of self-sabotage and not knowing how to break it.
I was stuck in fear and worry, and all I could think was, “things are never going to change, what’s the point of it all?” And with that mindset it was really easy for me to avoid everyone and everything and just retreat to my bedroom for the majority of the day.
Late one Friday night my parent’s home phone rang. I figured the call wasn’t for me so without looking at the caller ID I picked up the phone right away.
“Hello?” I said softly.
“Hey Dhru, it’s me. I’m so glad you picked up. I’ve been trying to reach you. I have have to talk…” my friend started to say.
Feeling caught off guard, I quickly cut my buddy off, “Umm, hey man, I have to go take care of something, can I call you back later?”
I knew I wasn’t planning on calling my friend back, but I just said whatever I could think of to get out of the conversation. I had been avoiding clients, family, and friends for the last four months and I wasn’t ready to get back into the world yet.
“I know you are busy, but I really need to talk to you. I’ve been trying to reach you for a while. I could really, really use your help. I’m going through a tough time in my life right now”, my friend genuinely shared.
Wow. It really sounded like my friend was hurting. What was going on? What happened to him? And most importantly, what could I do to help?
My friend continued, “I know this is a big favor to ask man, but is there any way you could drive down to meet me tomorrow? I just don’t feel that I have other friends who I can relate to and I don’t know what to do.”
Immediately I felt something shift inside my body. That pit in my stomach that I had been walking around with, that sense of dread I constantly felt, quickly vanished. And in its place I started to feel a deep sense of caring.
Sure I was suffering and feeling extremely depressed, but my friend was hurting too. And he needed me. What was I going to do, tell him no? That didn’t seem right.
I paused for a second and then replied to my friend on the phone, “Yeah.. I mean… yes, I can meet you tomorrow. For sure. What time?”
Without even realizing it my friend had helped me begin to break my cycle of despair. By simply reaching out and being vulnerable, my friend gave me a sense of purpose and reminded me of something very, very important:
No matter how much we think we are hurting, there’s people out there that are also hurting. And we may not have the power to remove our hurt just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be there for someone else.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that helping other people is one of the best ways to remind ourselves that 1) our life does have a purpose and 2) that our life does matter, even when we feel that it doesn’t.
I met my friend the next day. I left super early in the morning and drove two hours south to have a deep and powerful conversation on life and feeling lost.
Neither one of us “fixed” everything that we felt was off in our lives through that conversation alone, but we did support each other in the process of finding meaning for why things happen and how to grow from our experiences.
It’s pretty awesome when you think about it. My friend called me to ask for help, but really he was helping me without knowing it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may just give someone the sense of purpose they’re looking for.
Don’t be afraid to jump in and help others. You showing up for them will help you show up for yourself.