At Especially for Athletes we encourage athletes to reach out to and genuinely love those around them. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Some people make themselves harder to love than others. Here are two suggestions to help you when approaching such a person.
#1 Begin Little
In order to have a positive impact on people’s lives you have to have a genuine interest in them. If you don’t really have an interest in them don’t fake it, just try to get to know them better. Author Richelle Goodrich said “I am not what you see. I am what time and effort and interaction slowly unveil.” It will take time, effort and interaction to really learn about someone. Start today and start little, and let it grow naturally. Maybe it’s just asking someone in a class about their weekend, or just saying hello to someone in the hall. As you consistently take interest in that person’s life time, effort and interaction will bring their amazing traits into view. You will truly began to admire them and see things you have never noticed before.
#2 They may be injured, so be compassionate
Sometimes it will not be their awesome traits that are revealed as you spend time and effort to get to know them, but their immense challenges. You never know what is going on in someone’s life, and if you knew what was going on in their life, you may be full of compassion for them and develop a deep desire and a love for them.
Speaker Jack Christiansen shared a story of his hunting dog that speaks to this point. One day he and a friend went out bird hunting. They hiked back to a field and shot a few birds. His dog, completely out of character, refused to go get the birds. Frustrated Jack headed back to the truck. He told His dog to load up in the truck. When the dog would not do so he had had it. He picked up his dog and threw it in the back of the truck. That is when he noticed that there was blood all over his hands. His dog had slit open it’s belly on a barbed wire fence. Here is the lesson. He was mad at his dog until he found out that the dog was injured and that is why it was acting the way it was acting. In an instant he felt compassion for the dog instead of frustration and felt bad for how he had treated the injured dog. You may see some people at your school without friends and think, “Well they bring this upon themselves, look at how they are acting”. The question that we would invite you to get to know them well enough to answer is, “Why are they acting that way?” Are they injured?
It is our belief that if you will take the time and effort truly get to know someone you will discover one of two things: an awesome attribute or an injury. Both will help you to have a genuine love for them. We know that not everyone will respond to your genuine interest in them, and that it may feel a little bit risky to reach out to them, but what if they would respond? What if your genuine love for them could change their life? Save their life? Improve their life? Make it more exciting or tolerable for them to go to school. Wouldn’t it be worth the risk to try? Remember words of Leo Buscaglia, “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom. Only the person who risks is truly free.” Take the risk. Get to know and love someone knew. That is our challenge this week.
Especially for Athletes