Have you ever received excruciatingly bad news in a very public place?
Maybe a phone call from a family member about a loss in the family when you’re in the middle of a work day surrounded by coworkers?
Maybe you’re grocery shopping and get a text from a friend about a divorce or a miscarriage or an adoption falling through?
Maybe an email in an airport telling you after three rounds of interviews, the job you were counting on “went another direction?”
Have you ever had to, or tried and failed to, fight back tears in a public setting?
It’s terrible. If you’re anything like me, when you get this kind of very bad news, you want to do one of two things.
1.) Immediately be in the presence of someone you love wrapped in a big hug and crying to the point that you can barely breathe. Or,
2.) Immediately be in your bed alone crying to the point that you can barely breathe.
(Alternatives might include chocolate, alcohol, or going for a run or workout if you’re into that sort of thing.)
Either way, it does not involve being stared at by strangers who are wondering what’s wrong with the crazy person in the airport (or office or grocery store.) The last thing you want is to have to explain your emotional outburst to anyone. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Other times, you try your damndest to keep the tears contained and swallow hard on that lump in your throat.
The front I put on when I’m really upset about something is to be over-the-top kind to people. I️ think subconsciously it’s an attempt to receive kindness in return and hope that it makes me feel a little better. I’m just not that good of a person, as it turns out.
Some people hide it differently. They’re cold and quiet, or disengaged, or just plain mean.
I️ guess this is why I️ inherently try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they really are just mean or quiet, but maybe they just got terrible news and they really want to be in bed crying.
My point is, we all have good and bad days. And they rarely (basically never) fall on the same good or bad days as those around us. We’re all battling. We’re all juggling trials, struggles, fears and tears at any given moment. Today it might be you. Tomorrow your best friend, or the TSA agent at the airport. It’s easy to get offended or upset when you feel wronged by someone, but chances are, they’re having a rough day, too.
The person giving you road rage? Maybe they’re racing to the hospital. The class clown who’s always acting out? Maybe he’s in a temporary home and missing his family. Maybe the people we come across on any given day are in the battle of their lifetime. We’ve all been there.
What if we all tried to consider others as much as we do ourselves?
When someone is off their game or treats you unkindly, try to remember how you feel when you’re trying not to cry in an airport. Maybe today they need you to be the bigger person, because they just can’t do it. Imagine if everyone took this approach. What a world, what a time.