Last 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?