You never know what a person’s going through

We jump to conclusions about people a lot. Others jump to conclusions about me that are unfair, hurtful, and difficult to handle. They have no idea what’s going on in my life. I find myself thinking about a person a certain way sometimes and I catch myself doing it, then think, “What’s going on in that person’s life right now that makes them look/act/think that way?” We need to ask ourselves that question more often, both of ourselves and about others that we deal with. Maybe that receptionist sounded cranky today because she has three disabled adult siblings at home to take care of and he/she is sick. Maybe that cashier is trying to quit smoking cold turkey because they’re in such pain they could cry and just found out they have to have a major surgery in three weeks, and that’s why they were a bit short with you at the checkout counter. Maybe that doctor has a substance abuse problem and a mental illness that’s causing burnout and they’re trying to save their marriage while going through treatment of their own while trying to treat your illness or problem — could that be why they seemed a bit less courteous or concerned than you think they should’ve been with you? You never know what a person’s going through. Truly. Then, if people happen to find out what’s going on, they understand. Why do we have to know all the details to be understanding, though? Why can’t we be kind despite the behavior of others just because we recognize that they’re obviously having a rough time? We tend, instead, to make the situation worse with our own bad behavior. There are times when people need to be put in their place and their behavior clearly needs to be addressed, but most of the time, a smile — a simple smile — can go a long way. Get old-fashioned and hold the door for someone. Allow someone to go ahead of you in the checkout line if they only have a few items and they seem stressed. It’s the little things, but to them, a random act of kindness can be, quite literally, a life-saver. It can be that important. Just think about what would help you on a terrible, horrible, no-good, dirty, rotten day and try doing that for someone else. We need to re-establish simple kindnesses and manners to our daily dealings with each other. If we do so, everybody could be less stressed. Another thing we can do for each other is slow down. Don’t be in such a hurry. What are you in such a hurry to do? Get to the end of your life? You only have one life here on earth. Slow down a bit and enjoy it. Help someone else enjoy it, too. Don’t judge too quickly. Take a deep breath and look around you before you decide life is a catastrophe. If it is, hopefully someone will help you get the situation under control with a bit of humane treatment. If not, a few deep breaths might just do the trick. In any case, try to smile. Smiles help.

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