Be patient and be kind
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind always. Every so often I like to find a word or a saying to live by. Doing so helps me to feel more grounded. Whenever life feels like its moving too quickly, or I feel like I’m getting swept up in my day to day routine, I pick a word or a phrase and center my thoughts and actions around it. A phrase that I continually find myself coming back to, is the one right here. I found it one day and absolutely fell in love with it. I love it so much because it is both so important and so challenging to live by.
As humans we are inherently selfish. Even the most selfless people think about themselves before others. That’s not to say that we are terrible beings because we do this, it’s just the way it is. Just think, if we didn’t put ourselves first, we probably wouldn’t be here right now. Evolution is all about survival of the fittest, so it has been ingrained in us to put our own needs above the needs of others. As a result of this, we go through life with a “me first” mentality. When someone makes a mistake at work, we are quick to judge. When someone is short with us, we are quick to get upset. This is human nature. It is our innate reaction. But what if we step back for a moment and think about the fact that the person who just made a mistake may have just lost a loved one, or the person who was short with us, is in serious financial trouble. If we knew their circumstances, we might have been a little bit more forgiving, no? The thing is people don’t often walk around advertising their problems. So often times, we simply don’t know what others are going through. We may never know the impact of one rude comment, or one failed attempt to lend a hand. The reality is, our interactions have implications. At the end of the day, wouldn't you rather be the person who gave someone else reason to keep going, than someone who made a person question why they're here at all? This is why overwhelming kindness is so important. We need to learn to be nice, to let things go, and to approach every situation keeping in mind that the other person may be going through one of the toughest points in their life.
We can pick ourselves up from our lowest points, paint smiles on our faces and navigate through the day to day without our peers being any the wiser
When I came across this phrase, I myself was going through a tough time. At that point, I felt like I pretty much embodied who the phrase was aiming to help - and maybe that’s why it hit so close to home. It was my first semester not playing volleyball. I was trying to navigate this identity crisis that I found myself having, as well as come to terms with the fact that I had just lost something I loved to do. I was battling depression day in and day out and truthfully, I was at one of my lowest points in a while. I had just taken on my new role as student manager, so I still had to attend all the games and practices. I wanted to be resilient and carry out this role to the best of my abilities. I had too much respect for myself and too much love for the girls on the team, to allow my own feelings to affect the way I went about my new responsibilities. So, despite my personal struggles, I did my best to walk into every game and every practice fully engaged and with a smile on my face. And, it worked. I would go to games, and my teammates' parents who had known me for almost three years at this point would tell me how happy I looked. “You look like you’re glowing” or “you look happier than ever” were two comments I would get on a weekly basis. What a funny thing for someone to hear when they felt more broken than anything else.
It's harder than you might think, but more important than you may ever know
This experience gave me a whole new appreciation for the importance of kindness. Here, I was able to fool the people around me into thinking I was in a great place when that was the furthest thing from the truth. Through this, I realized that many of us are great actors. We can pick ourselves up from our lowest points, paint smiles on our faces and navigate through the day to day without our peers being any the wiser. For this reason, we must be ever so cautious. Every day we encounter people who are silently struggling. With this in mind, be patient and be kind. It’s harder than you might think, but more important than you may ever know.