Sunday, November 10, 2013

All Rise

You know that quote that like everyone has as their email signature?

"Don't judge another person. You never know what kind of battle they are fighting."

That may not be exactly how it goes, but you get the idea.

When I landed in Fresno earlier this week, Janiac asked me about my flight. It was pretty uneventful. Then she told me a story of the flight she took earlier in the week.

There was an older woman sitting next to her, and a young woman with a very small child behind them. By all accounts, the child was struggling with the plane ride (and probably traveling in general). The woman sitting next to Janiac was making very loud and very rude comments about the behavior of the child, and pontificating how the woman must be a bad parent because of it. Going so far as to say that she probably shouldn't fly until she can get her child under control.

This story upset me. That woman didn't know the situation in which the younger lady was traveling for. There could be a million reasons for the travel. A family wedding. A funeral. A final visit with an aging grandparent who would meet her child for the first and last time.

I'm not saying I have never judged someone without knowing the situation. I hope that I have never spoken so rudely about someone within their earshot, but I honestly can't tell you that is even the case.

In general, I try to understand people. It is part of my nature to want to know them. I want to hear their stories. Know their fears. Celebrate their accomplishments.

So when someone does something different than me. I try to understand why. What in their life makes them the way they are.

I watched the following video from TedxBoulder and it really got me thinking. 

When she says, "There is no harder. There is just hard," it resonated with me. Why do we insist on comparing our trials with those of others? And say that what we are going through is worse than what they are going through? Or even worse, discount what we are going through because it isn't as bad as theirs?

Each one of our battles is hard. It is hard because of the effect it has on our life.

Each one of our accomplishments is great. It is great because we overcame something and made it. 

Stop comparing. Stop judging. Just comfort and celebrate when someone calls on us to be that for them.

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