Everyone you meet is fighting a war

BeKindLast Friday, I was driving back home after an unusually bad day at work. My sole consolation was, “TGIF”, when I saw a beat up truck carrying a printed note on the side and back that read, “Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle of which you know nothing. Be kind to everyone you meet.”

I was touched by its profoundness. As it happens I had one of those days where you feel invisible, overlooked and unappreciated. Normally speaking I don’t let my environment get to me. But a series of bad days at work coupled with bad health got me in. Usually, I am the nice gal who lets other cars in front of me with a polite wave but today I was not having any of that. I was burned out, and all I wanted to do was go home and end the day which is when I saw the note. And then it occurred to me, “I am not alone in feeling the way I do”. We are all fighting our own demons and troubles in life.

When we meet people all too often we see a mask. The mask could be a well rehearsed image they are portraying or a judgment we slap on them based on their looks, mannerisms, behaviors and attire. But it is not truly who they are or everything they are. Too often when I am troubled or stressed I get into my “me against the world” modes. I am sure many other people behave like that which is probably why unhappy, stressed people are never fun to be around with (myself included). But if all of us are truly waging a war within why can’t we be more compassionate to each others troubles?

I feel part of the blame lies with the way we are taught to behave. We are taught always to sound positive and happy no matter what. Countless self help books talk about how in order to make a positive impression we should sound like we just tripped over a hundred dollar bill. It is little wonder then, that when we are feeling miserable we should want to hide our true feelings and shy away from human company. To seek the company of another compassionate soul in time of need, is therefore unthinkable because who would want to be with us when we are miserable? But it is no more plausible to be happy all the time just as it is to expect summer to last all year round. Even mother nature has her ups and downs.

Why does society always expect us to bear a positive face all the time? Why can’t we simply portray what we feel today? Why are we busy wearing masks and hiding our true feelings afraid of getting judged, when we are all feeling the same way? If the King is naked and we all know it, why can’t we just say it out aloud?

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this post! We all wear masks because of exactly what you said… people are judgmental. I am trying to be just me and to be OK with it. I try to instill compassion and understanding in my kids… to keep an open mind and to be flexible with our thoughts. It’s not easy being raised as a conformist currently working a corporate white-collar job where I am expected to have rigid thinking, yet longing to practice more of what you are talking about in this post. Thank you for the reminder!

    1. Neha Jain says:

      Thank you, the pleasure was mine and glad you enjoyed my post. I agree Corporate life does promote a very “robot” like exterior. I have to remind myself I can chose to be who I am as long as I am in peace with myself.

    1. Neha Jain says:

      Thank you my friend 🙂

  2. srbottch says:

    Well, if you want people to stay away from you, then unmask. But, it’s at times like this that we may need the comfort of someone’s company. A warm fave welcomes them into you world where, in a private moment between two friends, you can DUMP IT ALL ON THEM…and feel better. 😉

    1. Neha Jain says:

      Dear friend I am happy to hear from you. Although I don’t disagree with you in general, my whole point is why do we have to fear being shunned socially by virtue of being true to our feelings? And if people are to ostracize us for feeling a certain way should they matter in the long run? Who are we really masking from? Is it our true emotions from the world or from ourselves? It is not humanly possible to be happy and positive all the time just as it is to have a perfect summer day all year round. Is it a crime to feel the blues and once in a while fully relish them? Hiding does not make things go away it makes them haunt us even more.

      1. srbottch says:

        Neha, you may be right. And I may have read something awhile back that it may be healthier to unmask those feelings and let the chips fall. Now, I was in sales and had to be ‘up’ at all times while on the job. The evening was quite different when I would almost go into a shell, glad to be ‘off stage’. That didn’t always sit well with my wife. It was almost a Hekyl/Jyde personality. But, your topic is too deep for me and you can tell by my ‘simple’ (very simple) stories that my topics are light and maybe a but ‘masked’. As always, Steve.

        1. Neha Jain says:

          Thanks for sharing your story Steve. I think it takes depth to even understand the true nature of simplicity. And truth unlike duplicity is simple in essence. Thank you, for your observations as always. I will be sure to stop by and relish some of your “simple” stories soon 🙂

  3. M.Schmidt says:

    “As it happens I had one of those days where you feel invisible, overlooked and unappreciated.”

    It’s heartwarming to know that there are others feeling this way, but saddening that we all seem to have to suffer through it alone. If there’s one message that social media sends these days, it’s ‘don’t burden others with your problems’, ‘have a cup of positivi-tea,’ blah blah blah. There’s so much pressure to be that happy-go-lucky ray of sunshine that walks with a pep in her step 24/7. I’m a self-diagnosed introvert and if someone had simply told me it’s okay to feel what I’m feeling and, furthermore, that it’s okay to talk about it… wow, what a relief that would’ve been.

    George Mead was a theorist that examined the relationship between mind, self and society. One of his general premises said that we engage in “minding” (trying to see how others see us) because the opinions of those around us shape our self-esteem and ultimately shape our self-concept. It seems like one big cycle – perhaps society expects us to bear a mask because society is made up of individuals who were also at one point told to bear a mask.

    But we’re not water on the stove, are we? We’re not guaranteed to boil, nor are we guaranteed to follow suit and hide our feelings. Look at us right now! Mead wasn’t fortunate enough to have Twitter or WordPress. Keep at it, U Be Cute, love your stories 🙂

    1. Neha Jain says:

      Dear M.Schmidt thank you for your excellently apropos comments, I loved them! It was almost like hearing myself talk except I could not have said it better. I too understand the importance of being positive as well as anybody, but I also know I cannot run around being the 2016 Production of Don Quixote 24/7. I am a real woman living in a real world. I am bound to feel the ups and downs of life, circumstances and environment. What’s wrong with being in touch with one’s inner emotions? How is it better to hide one’s emotions just so one may “appear” to be something in front of others? You are absolutely right, we are all busy “minding” what everyone is thinking about us. And what a huge waste of time that must be, is it not? I agree, it is strangely liberating to know we don’t have to wear a mask to please others. Thanks again for stopping by, you really got me on a roll 🙂

  4. Loved reading the post, so well written.

So cute of you to drop me a line

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