Be kinder than is necessary because everyone you meet is struggling with something.
– Not sure where this quote came from
So I got an email today, and at the bottom of the e-mail the person had the above quote. (Don’t you just love how people put nice quotes etc. on their e-mails?!?!… I do!! 🙂 )
When I read that quote I smiled, because it sounds like something I find myself saying a lot (that we’ve all got our own set of struggles). In the work I do, many times people get so focussed on the ‘issues’ their partner/family member has, that they forget to take a look in the mirror and acknowledge that they’ve got a lot of their OWN stuff/issues too.
If I use myself as an example, I’ve been married now for almost 5 years, and the #1 think I’ve learned the most about being married and sharing my life with another person is… How many issues/hang-ups/stuff I’VE GOT going on in my own life that gets in the way of attaining the ‘ideal’ life I want for myself!
Instead of being honest with myself I could choose to not look honestly at ‘my stuff’, and instead just point the finger at aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the things I think my husband should change/work on/improve. But I’ve found that when I do that, it doesn’t solve anything, because the fact is… I’ve got enough work that I need to be doing on myself (with the help of God of course) that it could keep me occupied for the rest of my life.
Choosing to acknowledge my own personal struggles/issues helps me to treat the people around me with more kindness, grace, and respect, because I am forced to realize that their struggle is not ‘worse’ than mine (in most cases) it’s just different.
Try to think about this the next time someone does something to SERIOUSLY upset you. Before you lash out at them (verbally or in your head) ask yourself the question: ‘I wonder when’s the last time I made someone else feel exactly how I’m feeling RIGHT NOW?’
I find this exercise helps me to gain a better perspective on the situation and reminds me that we are all human; we all make mistakes, and a little more GRACE never hurt anyone!!