You never know what someone is actually going through. Even when you’re friends with that person, you never truly know the full extent of it. You see as much as you can, but you don’t know every detail. How can you? You’re not them.
A familiar scenario: A person speeds up behind you, rides your bumper, and as soon as he or she has an opening, they whip around you like you’re standing still. We’ve all been there, and I’m certain we’ve all cursed this person for being such a jerk. How dare they blast right by you like that, how dare they put your life and everyone else’s lives in danger like that. What a JERK!
But have you ever stopped to think about what could be making this person drive so quickly? Perhaps their spouse has been in a terrible car accident, and they’re racing to the hospital. Perhaps they’re late picking the kids up from school because errands took longer than expected. Perhaps he or she has been late to work twice already that week and if they are late one more time, they lose their job with a houseful of kids to provide for. And yes, of course, maybe they are just a fast driver, and it’s annoying that they are being so reckless. But then again, maybe not. And this applies to all people and circumstances.
We just never really know. We can guess, we can speculate, we can hypothesize, but without being inside that persons head, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, we don’t truly know. But we also don’t need to know the full extent of it either. What we need to do regardless of anything else is extend them the same compassion, love, and understanding we would want them to extend to us, if the roles were reversed. “Oh, I know what that’s like,” you say to yourself. “I’ve been there.”
You’re not a jerk anymore than the next guy. Ok, so maybe you are or maybe they are, but maybe they have a reason and maybe so do you. It doesn’t mean being a jerk is ok because it’s not. Our reasons don’t give us a pass to walk around acting like grumpy old trolls. Of course not. But it also doesn’t mean that you can’t ever be a grumpy old troll because we all have days where we just can’t deal, days where we’d rather crawl into a hole and not come out. And because we all know what those days are like, give understanding. Love others simply for being human, for their humanness. I think we all have that in common at least.
You don’t have to like every person you meet. You don’t have to agree with anything they believe, say, or do. But because we’re all trying to make our way through life the best way we know how, with the information we have available to us, the abilities and habits instilled in us, and we all know what it is like to have a really crappy day, week, month, or year, we all need to be respectful and kind to one another.
Don’t assume you know more than someone else or that you’re better than them because or that they could too, if only… Just love, understand, respect, care. Every single one of us matters. We don’t all have to agree on everything, we don’t have to impress or one up each other, we don’t need to have a paper that says so. No. We ALL matter, period, regardless of all things. Because of that we all deserve to be shown love, kindness, compassion, and respect.
And hey, you might learn something new from someone you never would have given the time of day to previously or make a lifelong friend, and that new information or person just might be the catalyst to unimaginable growth and your true purpose in life. After all, you never know.