I recently had a conversation with my wife. She told me about many of her friends and coworkers that she was worried about. Many of them seemed to have normal lives and to have everything together. The more wife told me about their life and past the more I realized their lives weren’t as normal as I originally thought. The realization dawned on me… Most people are hurting or have been hurt in ways that I could never know.
Maybe it was my own pride that I assumed other people didn’t have it as bad as me. That my painful past somehow trumped everyone else’s past was just obvious to me. It was these assumptions about how people seemed to be doing well that they had an easy life. Appearances often are not reality. It was unfair of me to assume anything…
If you are like me it is easy to get bogged down in your own past, experiences and hurts that you look past others and their hurts. Everyone is hurting or has been hurt and those experiences play a part in who we become. The more I thought about this the more my heart broke for those around me. As I look around in my daily life at the people I see I wonder to myself where are they today? What I mean by that is what are their circumstances? What season of life are they in right now? I wonder these things in an empathetic way. I want to ‘see’ these people as more than just what they want me to see. I don’t want to pry just to understand. I don’t want to gossip or to see myself as better. I just want to humble myself and meet them where they are.
“What I am saying is understand yourself and be empathetic of others. You never completely know where people are at in their life.”
My encouragement to you is to not assume. Don’t assume your situation is any better or worse than anyone else’s situation. Even if we somehow think we have all the information about another persons situation how they cope with trauma may different than you. I’m not saying excuse people’s behavior. What I am saying is understand yourself and be empathetic of others. You never completely know where people are at in their life. To assume you know is to put your own experiences above others and this dehumanizes people. You are strong, smart and capable and so is everyone else. We all just need to meet each other where we are.