How many times have we scrolled past the meme on Facebook or Instagram that says everyone is fighting a hard battle? Now, how many times do we really stop to think about it?
I have been in deep reflection for a while now and this is one of the lessons that has become glaringly obvious to me. We have to learn to be kind to people under (nearly) all circumstances. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean allowing people to disrespect you and trample all over your boundaries. Sometimes folks earn a good cussing or, even further, a good slapping and you’re just the messenger. But that’s a seldom occasion. I’m talking about living a lifestyle of compassion.
When someone “offends” you or comes at you sideways, it has very little to do with you and everything to do with them. They may be walking through fire in their personal lives. I know you get it, but do you really get it?
That girl who you’ve been talking sh*t about amongst your friends because she stays to herself and you think she’s stuck up is in an abusive relationship and is afraid to make new friends.
That guy you don’t speak to because he seems “weird” has PTSD from doing a tour in Iraq.
That couple that you’re sooooo annoyed about posting pictures of themselves and their love online is trying their best to put on a brave face after having yet another miscarriage.
That person aggressively honking behind you at the light because you’re scrolling on your cellphone instead of paying attention to the road is running late to an interview for a job that they need because they’re desperately trying to take care of their family.
That old guy that you think is a creep because he stares at you for too long, you look just like his daughter who passed away.
Imagine how you have felt on the worst days of you’re life. You’re distracted, irritable and you’re trying your best to cope but you can’t keep your head on straight. Then, imagine you doing or saying something stupid because you’re having the worst day ever and someone being a complete jerk off to you. Heads may roll. Now, imagine having that same day and someone having mercy on you. Not only are you immediately remorseful for being a douche, but you are also disarmed. Be that someone.
A lot of times, we return discomfort and aggression with even more aggression. Instead, compassion is the way. This doesn’t mean that you have to pretend that you like when people mistreat you. It means that you respond to them in a way that re-establishes your boundaries without adding fuel to their fire. Instead of immediately cussing them out, you calmly and firmly state that you will not be spoken to that way, and go on about your day without causing a scene. If it’s someone you know, you say, this is unusual for you, what’s going on? You honor yourself, but you don’t berate the person. Remember, that you are experiencing an isolated moment with them, but there’s a backstory that you know nothing about.
I know it’s hard not to let stuff bother you, but wasting energy on spewing venom toward people is only going to make your life harder. If someone hasn’t compromised your physical well-being or taken your money, they haven’t really done anything to you. They’ve more so acted out whatever pain they are experiencing at the moment. Respect that and live in peace with people.
Be slow to anger. Choose your words carefully. Don’t make someone’s day worse than it already is. Mind your business and continue to develop yourself so that you can contribute something inspiring, helpful and nurturing to the people you encounter.