I’ve seen it repeatedly in my own life in one of two ways. Either I’m going through tough trials and a friend later finds out the pain I was in, or I’m the one witnessing it in another and think to myself later, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”
I remember this vividly happening during a blogging event right after my husband filed for divorce. Clearly, I was devastated and going through something no one should have to bear alone, but I decided to put on my brave face and try my best to show up and be present. Although I was there and doing my best to smile, I can admit I just wasn’t myself. I was on the verge of tears at any moment and probably appeared unfriendly to people. One of my very good friends now didn’t know me that well and thought I didn’t like her at the time. After becoming friends and finding out later the details behind that awkward first meeting, she came to me later saying “if I only knew…” The truth is, you never really know what someone is going through.
If we never really know what someone is going through then how can we interact with each other? A person may easily appear great on the outside, but are internally suffering. We may never truly know the extent of someone’s situation, especially when there are so many brave men and women out there who suffer daily internal battles. They decide to get up, show up, and keep moving on anyway. When you ask them a direct question, “How are you?” you’ll get a simple response, “I’m good, thanks for asking.”
These are men and women you pass by every day. It’s your next door neighbor, it’s your co-worker, it’s the teller at the bank, it’s the stranger in the grocery store, it’s someone who comes across your Facebook feed daily, and it could even be one of your good friends. What if we began responding to these people expecting that everyone is fighting some type of internal battle? We could spread a little more kindness, share a smile, be more forgiving, and always show a little more compassion. Simple things for us to extend, but big things in the grand scheme of things. You never know just how much that person needed the extra love you showed them that day.
Always be kind.
To a degree, we all are kind people, but unfortunately we don’t always show it. As humans, we make many mistakes and forgetting to be consistently kind is one of them. Between a pleasant conversation, a compliment to encourage, or a random act of kindness, we have the ability to make this world a better place by sharing kindness wherever we go. The power is in you, if you choose to embrace that part of you and show kindness in deeper and stronger ways than you ever have before. As we head into 2017 and New Year’s resolutions are on so many of our minds, let’s focus on some of the most underestimated and powerful goals we can work towards — kindness. That kindness can mean a lot to someone who needs it the most during hidden trials. For more inspiration on showing kindness, check out my post about being incredibly kind (here) or sharing more gratitude and more kindness (here).
Share a smile.
If you know anything about me, you know I love to smile and make others smile. I often look at my smile as a gift. Not because I think it’s amazing or anything out of the ordinary, but simply because I love what a smile can do for someone else. One of the biggest changes I made this year and challenge to myself was smiling more, even when I don’t feel like it. It actually what inspired me to write the article 7 Ways to Keep Smiling No Matter What. It has made an incredible difference not only in my own life, but also in the lives of others. I love to see strangers smile at me in return. The best part about a smile is that it means the same thing to every age and in every culture, so why no do what we can to spread it more.
Show a little more compassion.
Extending grace to someone who may not deserve it may be one of the hardest things we can do. However, it can also be one of the most rewarding things, for they are likely the very ones who need it the most. Compassion can come in the form of being a better listener, being empathetic and understanding or simply extending forgiveness beyond what you feel like at that moment. Because you never know just what someone may be battling, showing compassion no matter what should always be on the forefronts on our minds. After all, that compassion could be the very thing they needed just to pick themselves back up.
If you loved this post, spread kindness today and give it a social share so others can benefit from making this world a better place!
Lipstick – MAC Relentlessly Red
Photo Credit // Samantha Weissbach Photography