Nobody Knows What You Are Going Through

Nobody Knows What You Are Going Through

How You Treat People Becomes Their Reality

March 7, 2021


I was minding my own business the other day when I had an interesting thought.

Nobody knows what I am going through.

Unless I explicitly tell them, the people I interact with on a daily basis have no clue how my internal landscape looks. They may be able to infer how I am feeling based on my actions, but they are usually too focused on their own lives to even notice.

This sounds rather depressing, but the reality is that everyone is doing their best to navigate their own lives. Good friends will occasionally ask us how we are doing, but most of their mental energy is expended on progressing towards their own goals and dreams.

Caught up in the whirlwind of our daily schedules, our deadlines, and our to-do lists, it’s easy to forget that everyone we interact with is living their own story. One where they are the protagonist and we are, at best, a supporting role.

You can’t take it back

Realizing that the world around us is completely oblivious to what we are wrestling with is scary. But it also makes sense.

If everyone was equally embroiled in our struggles as their own, nothing would ever get done. We would quickly find ourselves in a situation where there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and we all know how that plays out.

This realization made me think deeply about how I treat people.

If I am rude to someone because I have just had one of the worst days of my life, the other person experiences my rudeness and that’s it. They don’t know why I acted the way I did. And trying to justify my actions by explaining my circumstances would take longer than most interactions last.

Clean up in aisle four

The other day I saw a man yelling at the cashier at Whole Foods because he was accidentally charged twice for the 6-pack of canned wine he was about to become thoroughly acquainted with.

Maybe he was having a really tough week, or maybe he was a total asshole. I will never know. But my perception of him was incredibly negative due to how he was reacting to this easily fixable situation.

It’s important to remember that other people can’t see inside our minds. They can’t review our motives or even begin to guess why we may be acting the way we are. How we treat people is everything because our actions, good or bad, become their reality.

Breathe, smile, & remember

The next time you’re feeling stressed and are about to take it out on an innocent bystander, I encourage you to do three things.

Take a deep breath, smile, and remember that the person across the room from you has absolutely no idea what you are going through. Their perception of you will be based solely on how you treat them in the next 10 seconds.

And losing your cool and then trying to explain why you just acted like a toddler mid-temper-tantrum is a lot less enjoyable than treating people with kindness. Trust me, I’ve been there.

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