Just recently I have become friends with someone I have somewhat known for about 4 years. It has been an interesting experience, because I am learning about their life, which for four years I imagined to be quite different. You see, you really never know what is going on with someone in their life. I truly imagined this person happily married, active with their kids, and living a life so fulfilled and perfect that I couldn’t even relate. Where I constantly feel like I am trying to put the puzzle pieces together in mine. I am just about to get the puzzle complete, but a few just don’t fit. I have fun doing the puzzle, of course, but it’s never finished. And it will probably always be that way.
Then this person walks into my life with problems of their own and makes me realize what a good face people can put on. Maybe a loved one just died, or you are dealing with rebellious kids, or your spouse has an addiction problem and you just can’t help them. You truly never know what is happening in someone’s life, yet for some reason we make assumptions based on the little that we know. It is easy to take people at face value, and in most situations they probably prefer it. But I bet everyone has something that they could complain about at all times, and sometimes those can load up to be a lot.
I am constantly told about how gracefully I handled my husbands affair and divorce. I am told that I am so strong for discussing my disease, being a single mom, being successful, etc. I appreciate those words and it empowers me as a woman to think “fuck yeah. I am awesome.” And I probably perpetuate those views that people have about me. I try to keep those thoughts all the time, but then I remember those missing puzzle pieces and wonder if I should let people in on the fact that there is so much room for improvement. These people don’t know that my kids and I argue most nights about sleeping situations, my house is only clean about 7% of the time, I constantly worry that I am not good enough at my job, or parenting, and sometimes I still think about how much better of a person and parent I could be if I had a partner in this life.
You see, life is full of crazy adventures, heartbreak, people who test you on a daily basis, happiness, learning, experiencing, building relationships, the list goes on. It is a beautiful thing. But you never know when people are at the peak or the base of a mountain. Are they climbing or falling? Do they need you to understand, or would that make it all crumble from underneath them?
This my friends, is how I feel about the ever so popular “be kind. You never know what someone is going through.” Because you truly don’t. I am learning first hand from someone I have really respected. Sometimes they just need you, but don’t know how to ask for help. Think about that the next time someone is rude to you, or forces a smile, or ignores you. Even if they are genuine and kind. You don’t know what is going on, but you can control how you impact them, if even for just that short moment. So spread kindness. It’s so easy, and so fun.
Happy Friday, friends.
❤ MS Andrea Jackson