Look around. Gorillas are everywhere. We see them everywhere we go, no matter what country, or community. They live amongst the wealthy, and the poor. They exist in cities and in the rural villages.
Did you ever see that social experiment where the scientists asked groups of people to play basketball? They were told to keep their eyes on the ball to count how many times it was passed. While intensely watching the players, the ball, the passing, a person dressed in a gorilla suit walked right through the scene. It even stopped to wiggle a bit.
When asked what they observed, only a few people said, “there was a guy in a gorilla suit”. More people than not didn’t even notice the gorilla.
That is true of how we carry poverty, depression, people in crisis, kids who need our help. They are our gorillas.
I call social issues ‘gorillas’, because for the person carrying the burden of living with one of these, they go virtually unseen as they walk around in our society.
Traveling through day to day life as a poor person; a depressed person; a person in crisis; a grieving person; a child who needs help, but is scared to ask for it, feels like a 600 pound weigh. Even when you’re out and about, doing what every human does.
I see myself in you
Why would individuals in a society assume that someone who is lost, depressed, anxious, sad, or scared is also weak?
In fact, they’re probably the strongest amongst us. They’ve been carrying a weight that many know nothing about.
Do you know how strong a person has to be to strap on the hefty burden of functioning as if nothing is wrong, while knowing in their hearts that everything feels wrong?
When you wake up to the art of noticing things, you see the gorillas. You don’t have to be the one to help everyone, but it’s good to see them. To acknowledge that you are standing next to a person who is strong enough to smile, even when their life hurts. It’s good to be kind to someone you know nothing about. Free of judgement is a sign of mature human growth.
When you actively show compassion, empathy, kindness, and perhaps even love toward another when they are at their most vulnerable, you become a better version of yourself.
Kindness is free. Clarity means seeing in others that essence of yourself that connects you to your humanity. Everywhere we live, there are gentle giants working on freeing the gorilla in their midst.
Healthy communities thrive through seeing in others, a part of ourselves.
That is the whole point of a positive psychology in the first place, isn’t it?
Peace and Love,
About the Author: Karen Henry [Daly], MA CRM owns Henry Healing as a holistic well-being practitioner and writer. She’s a former university professor and current scholar practicing the infusion of holistic healing and positive psychology.