See that smiling woman cuddling her kids, you don’t see her anxiety and her battle every day with post-partum depression.
You don’t imagine the insecurity that business woman faces as she addresses a meeting.
You can’t fathom the self-loathing of that young woman who’s fighting bulimia and can’t wait to stick her fingers down her throat.
That homeless man was once a father with a regular job.
You don’t realize that you’re talking with a confident Asian woman who actually wishes she were white.
The car that’s driving slowly or erratically in front of you, annoying you – you’re unaware that a Mom is dealing with a screaming kid.
Your friend who’s always smiling and composed, maybe she’s hiding verbal abuse or an addiction to pain meds?
That kid you think is a bully, you don’t see how shy he really is. Or maybe he’s just hungry?
Maybe that rude individual talking loudly on the phone is dealing with a family emergency?
A distracted, grumpy colleague? She just broke up with her boyfriend.
That person who’s in such a rush to end a conversation with you probably needs to pee really badly.
Your girlfriend who doesn’t want to split the restaurant bill four ways might be worrying about how to make her next credit card payment.
What about the call service rep who sounds disinterested? This could be the only job he could find and he hates it. But it’s a job. A paying job.
The fact is, there’s an awful lot we don’t, won’t or can’t see. But we are oh-so-quick to assume and judge. Myself included.
What you don’t see about me is the constant burning and itching on my forehead, the invisible remnants of shingles from a little over a year ago. I’m not complaining. In fact, I even appreciate it. This burning-you-can’t-see is my daily reminder not to assume things about the people I know and the strangers I don’t.
And it’s also a persistent reminder of my duty to teach my kids to also be thoughtful and respectful of all the people they encounter and all the stuff they are dealing with that we can’t see.