“Try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.” (Maya Angelou) When I saw that recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog, I knew that I had to write something about it.
Everybody has cloudy days, sad days, days of anxiety or fear, days of remorse or sorrow, perhaps just boring day; days when we could use a rainbow to cheer us up. We all also have the ability to be the person (the rainbow) who goes a little out of their ways to cheer up someone else who is having a bad day.
Some people have an almost automatic reflex to help other whom they see are in need; however, for many of us (I count myself in that number) that is not an immediate reaction. We hesitate, reluctant to “get involved.” Maybe we mumble a few words of encouragement to them as we scurry past or perhaps we give them a quick hug, or utter a brief “I’m so sorry” and then hurry on with our day. We were polite. We were politically correct. We did our part; but we weren’t a rainbow in that person’s cloudy day.
Being a rainbow means actually taking the time to listen to the person having that cloudy day and paying attention. It means asking that second question and maybe more, in order to better understand the issue that is causing the problem. It means holding on to that hug for a little longer or just reaching out and touching them in a way that says “I care.” It may mean opening up and sharing something from your life – a similar situation or one of equal seriousness to you and relating how you were able to deal with it. It may mean calling upon the Faith that you’ve spent your whole life developing and sharing it with this person. Hopefully, that Faith is the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow.
Being a rainbow in someone’s life is yet another area where women seem to have the advantage over men. Women will run towards someone in emotional pain; while men might turn away and try not to get involved. Hugs (at least meaningful ones) don’t come easily for most men, especially if it’s for another man. Yet a fist bump or back slap doesn’t convey the same feelings. And most men hate to relate stories about times when they were down or needed help. They think that shows weakness. The essence of being a rainbow for somebody is being able to reach out from your soul and touch their soul. The rainbow doesn’t come from over there on the horizon, it comes from inside; it comes from the soul.
Pablo Neruda put it well when he wrote in The Book of Questions – “Donde termina el arco iris, en tu alma o en el horizonte? – Where does the rainbow end, in your soul or on the horizon?”
Perhaps he would agree that if the rainbow actually starts in your soul and reaches out to touch the soul another; and, that is a beautiful thing. So, don’t add to the gloom of the day. Resolve to be the rainbow in someone’s life today. I suspect that just going about your day with an attitude that says “How can I help someone today?” will make your day better too.
Have a great and brightly colored day! I hope that we meet today, so that I can see how beautiful you can be.