One of the most frequent questions I am asked about positivity is this; “isn’t there more important things than being happy?” or “what is so important about being happy?” Often people see focusing on themselves as being selfish. After all what good can I do by being happy? What difference does it make if I am happy around others or not? Here is a very emotional answer to that question.

Less than a year ago a high school classmate and friend of mine, David, killed himself. This morning his mother invited my lady and I to an suicide awareness walk. What I learned there will forever change me. I want to share a good deal of that with you here today and it is my sincerest wish that you share it with everyone you know. In fact, I challenge you to do so. The main point they kept repeating was removing the stigma of suicide. Which had me asking myself my own thoughts on suicide and what I knew. Here is some of what I learned.

Myth: suicide has warning signs. Usually the people are depressed or talk about it. I would know if anyone I knew was thinking about it.

fact: The people who led today’s walk were parents of a 13 year old girl who was a straight A student. She killed herself about 2 years ago. She was always happy, a musician, into sports and had a lot of friends. The fact is you never know what people are dealing with on the inside. You never know when your joking sarcastic comment could really hurt. You also never know how important a kind word and a smile might be.

myth: Suicide is an extreme and rare situation I will never have to deal with it.

fact: according to the American federation of suicide prevention(afsp) One person commits suicide every 13 minutes. that is over 110 people a day. When this walk began there was 100 people there. Today there was over 1000. There were people who lost children, parents, siblings, friends and classmates. suicide touches a lot more people than a lot of us realize.

myth: people who commit suicide are “crazy” or “weak” or just plain “selfish”

fact: Of the 110 people we lose to suicide a day 22 of them are veterans. These are brave men and women who sacrifice the safety of their own lives to defend ours. They leave the love of their family knowing full well they may never return. When they do they are never the same. They see things most of us will never know. When they return they need our love and support more than ever. They also need our understanding.

Those of you who know me well know the question that is foremost in my mind. What can we do to help this growing problem. an easy step is to go to American federation of suicide prevention and become a field advocate. Let your voice be heard. One of the greatest issues facing those who need help is the ideas we have about people who have mental issues such as depression, and social anxiety. The truth is one in four of us has some form of mental illness. Remember to treat others with compassion and understanding. Signs of their struggle may not always be visible on the outside. Understand the truth about suicide and inform others. You would be amazed what I learned merely attending this walk. Please click on the link above to learn more. Also know the suicide prevention hotline which is 1-800-273-8255. Never be afraid to ask someone if they need help. It is not offensive, it is a sign you care.

Finally, work on yourself. Try to limit the stress and negativity in your own life. Find ways to grow your bliss and joy. Bring that joy to others. Limit your use of sarcasm and ‘joking insults’ you never know what someone may be dealing with. Also do your best not to judge others. My lady was saying how quick some of us are to assume the person who is out of shape is lazy, when it could be a genetic issue or perhaps stress from losing a loved one. The person dressed poorly could be going through a hard economic time and not have many options in what to where. Share a smile and a kind word wherever and whenever you can. It is free and can change a life or even save a life. Share this website with anyone you can. I will promise you to do my part with bringing as much joy and positivity as you can. Let us all be a light to those in darkness.

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