As you’re starting your week, here’s something to consider…

We’ve all experienced being offended. Maybe someone returns our smile with a scowl. Maybe they cut us off in traffic. Maybe they ignore us. Maybe we wish they’d ignore us because they treat us rudely. Maybe they’re short with us.

Maybe underneath it all, those same people are going through something we can’t see.

I’ve seen this in my family and friends this week. I have people in my circle who are battling illnesses, dealing with loss, caring for older parents, wrestling with financial challenges, and dealing with relationship struggles. These are challenging experiences, and none of them are the kind of things you can simply turn off and on at will.

When I was going through my divorce, I tried hard to turn it off. No matter what was going on at home or with my kids, I tried to show up to my clients like everything was awesome. They had no idea what I was going through. When I did lose control, if I had a day where I was a bit disconnected or I dropped the ball on something, those clients didn’t see it through the lens of my struggle – they had no idea I WAS struggling. All they saw was me falling short, and they judged me without knowing ever I was fighting to hold together.

I learned one valuable lesson through that experience… We’re all going through something.

That something might be a situation only our family, close friends, or maybe our business partners can see. It’s probably not the kind of thing we’re going to post on Facebook or share in an Instagram post. It might be a divorce, a loss in our family, an illness they’re dealing with, added stress at work, or a financial burden we’re carrying. Whatever it is, when the tides shift and a crisis washes on shore, there are only a limited number of people in our circle who really know what we’re going through.

For everyone else who crosses our path, like the waiter or the cashier or the driver on the freeway or our clients, they assume that we’re good. They think we’re doing well. They’re taking for granted that our lives are on track, and that rainbows follow us everywhere we go.

The reality is much different. I have yet to meet anyone who isn’t going through something, just like each of us are. Maybe it’s something big, or perhaps something we would consider small, but we’re all wrestling something. It is common to all of us, and if we view everyone we meet with that in mind, we’ll start showing them a little extra grace and quit getting offended so easily.

The Takeaway

That’s the lesson I’ve learned this week. We’re all going through something. As you were reading this, you were either nodding because of something you’re going through, or something that someone close to you is battling. So, the next time that driver cuts you off or someone treats you badly, rather than burying them, show a little grace. You never know what they’re dealing with, what they’re fighting through, or the burdens they bear.

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Thank you! – John