Three years ago yesterday our family suffered a devastating loss. My husband’s former step-son, my little girls older half brother, passed away at fifteen years old. I could write a million pages and not scratch the surface of how this has affected my husband and our family. This post, however, is not about that. This post is about how we all treat each other.
Like many men, when my husband is sad, he doesn’t project sadness. Certainly not outside of our home. When my husband is sad he projects a-shole. This week, this weekend, the people who care about us know what we’re dealing with and thus they know to be gentle with us. They know to be careful and kind and to handle us with kid gloves. As I’ve watched my husband struggle this week I’ve done a lot of thinking about how people behave, treat each other, and react to each other. And, simply put, we can do better.
I’ve admitted that in one of my last jobs I was a handful for my colleagues. I was struggling so mightily and had such a hard time functioning normally at work. My colleagues were forced to deal with me at my most unkind, my most unprofessional, and at my worst. Because many of them were aware of the challenges I was facing I was given remarkable support and flexibility. I wonder though if I’ve offered the same kind of support to people who need it.
I expect a lot out of my colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. I want people to be at their best. I sometimes forget that I’m not always at my best and that I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people who have been kind and gentle with me when I’ve suffered. It has to become a priority of mine to be willing to do the same.
All of us are faced with sadness, challenges, illness, loss, frustration, and enormous amounts of stress. And yet, we allow ourselves so little time to treat each other like human beings. We look for quick and easy ways to communicate and relate to one another. In addition, many of us (me included) don’t have patience when people aren’t nice, and we react by not being nice ourselves. This past week I’ve been thinking about the fact that we never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. We never know the stresses that others are facing. And thus, we don’t always know why someone is behaving in a manner that we don’t appreciate.
Nobody has the right to be horrible to others, no matter what they are facing in their own lives, but what if all of us tried to be a little more gentle with each other. A little more patient, and accepting, and careful with our words and our behavior?
As we begin a new week and put this one to bed I hope I can move forward as a kinder, more accepting, more patient, and gentler person. I hope I can be careful with others when it’s clear that they are in a bad place. I hope that I can offer support and kindness to those who need it. And I hope I can be more human and take the time to be good to others.
TODAY: What if we treat each other better? What if we offer support when those around us are struggling? What if, when others are treating us badly, we take a deep breath, understand that they could be suffering themselves, and let it go?