We Need Each Other

Image credit: Anna Wolf

Image credit: Anna Wolf

Inspirational quotes. Uplifting stories. Videos that aim to stir us right from the core.

If you’ve been paying attention to your social media streams, you may have picked up on a staggering uptick in motivational/inspirational content over the course of the past year or two. You’ve noticed it, right?

Well, a cynic might argue that these bits of soul stimulation are just empty words and images. That, in a way, we’ve managed to commoditize positivity. And I can certainly understand that point of view.

But as someone who is trying to build a community of soulful, positive individuals, I have to argue that these messages play a hugely important role in our world – and there’s a reason you’re seeing more and more of them.

One of the most apparent lessons I’ve learned over the course of this road trip has been about connection + community. I’ve had long and meaningful conversations with strangers. I’ve given advice, and I’ve been given advice. I’ve heard stories that inspire me deeply and new perspectives that have enriched my own worldview.

And the inevitable conclusion that I’ve come to is this:

We need each other.

It is as simple as that.

THAT is why your news feed is filled with inspirational quotes. THAT is why you see Kid President videos that spread like wildfire. THAT is why the naptime cuddles of a puppy and a kid garner thousands of likes on Instagram every day.

We finally have a means of encouraging one another on a mass scale.

It’s no secret that life can be hard. Each of us has flaws and predispositions that we have to overcome to get closer to our dreams – maybe we’re afraid or we’re shy or we’re uncertain. But the beauty is that we don’t have to figure it out by ourselves.

YOU don’t have to figure it out by yourself.

Last night Jason spoke to a group of college students at Oklahoma State University. Afterwards I heard some of them walk up to him (and me) saying, When you said ____, it really clicked with me.That is music to my ears because it reminds me that messages matter. Connection matters. What if our encouragement was just the perspective that one kid needed to change the world?

If it sounds like I’m coming off overly grandiose, consider this for a second: think back over the course of your life and pick out some pivotal moments that have made a lasting impact on your outlook today. Maybe it was a trip to a foreign country or a book you read or a teacher you had or a conversation with a friend. I can almost guarantee you that behind ALL of those moments, there were people. When you travel, you meet peoplePeople write books. People teach. People help.

When I post a daily piece on Instagram – usually just a tidbit of wisdom I’ve been mulling over in my head – I never know if it’s going to mean something to someone. But there are times when I get comments like “I needed this today” or “This speaks to me” and my whole world lights up. It means my thoughts have resonated with someone and that the connection between us has impact.

I guess the point in sharing these thoughts with you guys is to say that more than ever I am grateful for YOU. For your comments, your emails, your acknowledgment that my messages are shared with care and sincerity and love.

We are connected. We need each other. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Written and shared on my way from Stillwater, OK to Nashville, TN. You can check out photos from our trip by searching #FloridaGoesWest on Instagram


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