So I was chatting with a few folks last night about being triggered to think about specific people when I see or hear or come across certain things one way or another. Like…the movie Stand By Me makes me think about D; something relating to Disneyland makes me think about A…that type of thing. And I told one of my friends what things made me think about her whenever I see or hear them, and she replied to me with things that made her think about me.
One of those things that makes her think of me is elephants.
I love elephants. I love how gentle they are even though they are so big. I love their proven self-awareness and their intelligence. I just think they are really cool. And when I was active on other forms of social media, I would put up photos of elephants regularly.
I didn’t know elephants could be a negative association for anyone, but actually EVERYTHING can be a negative association for someone out there. We never know what’s going to trigger someone’s anxiety or depression or PTSD, because unless they’ve specifically shared it with us, we don’t know about their trauma or experiences.
Anyway, my friend shared with me that elephants used to be a negative association for her. That seeing them made her think of a person who hurt her in the past quite badly, but now, after a gradual transformation I had no idea was taking place, she says elephants are a positive association for her, because she now thinks about ME when she sees them.
That was honestly one of the most touching and wonderful things anyone ever told me.
I wasn’t actively trying to change her association of elephants from negative to positive, or even to make her associate elephants with me, obviously. It just happened. And she told me ‘thank you,’ for that. Clearly, I don’t deserve or expect gratitude for doing something accidentally. But I’m glad she told me. Everything. From the beginning of what started out as a lighthearted, silly thing to share with each other all the way through serious things to her ‘thank you.’ Because it’s a nice reminder to me that while we never really know what someone is going through or has gone through, we also never really know what quirky little thing about ourselves could be unintentionally positively affecting someone else’s life. It’s a small thing here, but a tangible one.
I am grateful to know something about me made a positive change for someone else without me even seeking to do that. That’s the coolest thing that’s happened to me in a long while. So I thought I’d share it.