If you spend to much time making judgments and not seeing people for who they
really are, it is you who will lose out. Finding inspiration in people you meet
on a daily basis makes life so much more interesting. Everyone you
come across in life is fighting some kind of battle.
Maybe they can shed some light on yours.
You are in grocery store. Harried, stressed and exhausted. There is a woman in front of you, youngish- 40's maybe. She is walking exactly where you want to be, where you deserve to be. She is not walking fast enough. Not moving fast enough. You clear your throat loudly. Hoping she takes the hint. You want to yell "Move it or lose it sister!" at the top of your lungs. She moves ahead a bit and slowly reaches for an item on the shelf. You feel your heart start to race, blood pressure go up. The urge to tap her with your carriage is overwhelming. You have to get home, you have dinner to make. You have laundry that needs to be finished. You have things to do. Clearing your throat didn't move her fast enough. You sigh. Loudly. She glances at you and smiles. A warm smile. She grabs her carriage and walks forward. Still not fast enough for you, but she is out of your way. You grab what you need and you are off. Zipping past her, dirty glance in her direction. The nerve. Some people. World revolves around them. As you reach the end of your shopping, you glance over and see that she has only made it another 4 aisles. You think she is lazy, checking prices because she is poor. You check out and you leave. Not giving her another thought. Places to go, things to do. You are normally a patient person. But seriously, if she lost some weight, got a better job or whatever her reason for being so slow, so in your way, she would have gone faster.
In the time span of a quick stop at the grocery store, you glanced at a woman briefly. You didn't actually see her. You didn't get a sense of her. All you saw was what you projected onto her. Lazy, slow, fat, poor. You tried and convicted her in the space of a minute. You felt better about yourself without even realizing it. Then you were gone.
What you didn't see. What you would have seen had you taken a moment. Only a moment and actually looked at her. Was pain. Not in any outward signs, but in her face. In her walk. The way she maneuvered her carriage, getting the item and getting out of your way. You didn't see her. But she sure as hell saw you. She smiled at you. Knowing full well your anger at her. She smiled. Until you walked past. Then the hurt set in.
There are 50 million Americans, one in five, that suffer from an autoimmune disease. 26.2% of Americans, one in four, suffer from mental illness. 7.8% or 5.2 million Americans will suffer or suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). All of these show no outward symptoms. Nothing you would see at a quick glance. But each one is like an albatross hanging around the neck of the person who suffers from it. That woman in the grocery store was trying. Trying to be independent. Trying to live through the pain. Each step she took sent shock waves through her. But she was determined. Determined not to let her disease stop her from living. She did it. She did her own shopping. This is a natural thoughtless act for most, for her it was an act of sheer strength and determination. But one that no one sees.
Every day you walk past people and automatically judge them. It is a human trait. You see what you want to see, what you are conditioned to see and you judge. Probably not even realizing you are doing it at the time. Everyone is so busy. So caught up in their own little world that we fail to see what is often right in front of us. We judge. We sigh loudly at the slow shopper. We tell the overweight person to exercise more, not understanding it is their medication that makes them that way. We tell the man that can't work, can't function to get over his depression. Just be happy already. People just don't get it. They don't see it and when they do actually see it, they turn their heads and are thankful it isn't them. They judge in order to distance themselves from it.
These people that suffer from diseases you can't see are so impressive to me. They work, they get up everyday knowing what is in store for them. They do it any way. They strive for independence and they try so hard not to let the world see just how hard it is. They lean on those close to them and try not to feel the guilt that it causes. They take medications that make them sick, but are up every morning with their kids. They try. By sheer force of will they make a life for themselves. They are strong, they are tough and they understand that when their disease puts limitations on them, it's time to find a way to work around it. They do it everyday. For some people getting up and out of bed is a victory . Grocery shopping is a cause for celebration. Going fishing and spending time alone for the first time in years, life changing.
I was talking to a friend last week. She suffers from an autoimmune disease. She went camping. Alone with her dog and her pistol. She sent her husband home. She reclaimed some of her independence. She fished, she cooked and cleaned. She was in constant pain but she did not let it stop her. She faced her disease and found ways to work around it. Her happiness and her strength was palpable. Without even realizing it she was inspiring. We all have limitations. We all have something that stands in our way at times. We get frustrated, we cry and yell "Why me?". When what we should be doing is taking a page from my friend's book and say instead, "What can I do different to get where I need to be?"
Don't just look. See. If you spend to much time making judgments and not seeing people for who they really are, it is you who will lose out. Finding inspiration in people you meet on a daily basis makes life so much more interesting. Everyone you come across in life is fighting some kind of battle. Maybe, just maybe, they can shed some light on yours.
Don't just look. See.
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