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One thing that I have seen and experienced for myself is that it is impossible to know what is going on in the lives of other people, regardless of how they seem or behave.
Back then, my husband Nicolos was fighting a losing battle against cancer. He was admitted to the hospital twice over a span of thirteen months, each time about thirty minutes away from where we live.
I spent around 10 hours a day in the hospital, plus commute time throughout those long weeks. I was a total mess.
I had no idea what people on the outside saw when they glanced at me. On the inside, I was irritable, furious, depressed, and beyond my wits from sorrow. I was also exhausted. Despite this, I was required to engage with the world in the same way that everyone else does.
It was necessary for me to get petrol for the vehicle, visit the bank, get food for the dog, and do some grocery shopping. I was forced to go through life acting politely or patiently waiting my turn, despite the fact that all I wanted to do was break down and weep or get angry. Everything seemed to be incredibly real but unreal.
While Nicolos was in the hospital, I found it helpful to establish some kind of schedule for myself. On the way to the hospital first thing in the morning, I would get a latte from the coffee shop down the street from my house.
During this period, for some reason I began having a yearning for banana cream pie, which was a welcome distraction from the monotony of my day. I used to make a stop at the pie store that was close to my house on the way home from the hospital. This regular practise helps me maintain my sanity.
What sticks out the most to me about that time period, and what I will never forget about it, are the simple acts of generosity that were extended to me by friends and strangers alike.
When I went to buy some coffee one morning when I was running late to go to the hospital, there was a big queue that stretched nearly all the way out the door.
I was well aware that my husband would be waiting for me and be curious as to where I had been. It caused me a lot of anxiety and worry.
I was at a loss for what to do, so in a moment of desperation I asked the person who was in front of me in line if they minded if I cut in front of them since I needed to go to the hospital. He responded that there was no issue and then asked everyone else in line if it was okay if I cut in front of them.
Everyone responded in the affirmative, despite the fact that I am certain each of us need that morning coffee to the same degree.
Even if it seems like a little matter, I will not be able to forget about it. It made me feel more supported, it helped me get started, and it reduced the amount of stress I was experiencing. When you are already in the state of being overwhelmed, it is a tremendous deal.
Throughout the week, the nighttime shift at the pie store was always covered by the same lady. One day, while she was placing my slice of pie in its takeout container, she began quizzing me on various aspects of my life. I provided her with a high-level overview of what was taking place.
That evening, she came up to me and brought me the pie, but she refused to accept any payment or a tip, saying that it was on her.
After that, she would prepare a super-sized slice of banana cream pie in a takeout container every single night. Again, it may seem to be a little thing, but it meant a great deal more to me than I will ever be able to convey. In the middle of everything negative that was going on, there were a lot of little gestures of kindness that filled me with thankfulness. I am thankful for all of them.
We truly have no way of knowing what is going on in the lives of another person, such as what kind of news they may have received that day, if they have just lost their job or have a family member who is unwell. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance to demonstrate compassion whenever we have the opportunity to do so.
Read more: When you want to give up, how do you keep going?
Instead of taking whatever that another says or does personally, you should give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
I am quite aware that there have been moments when my response to the typical annoyances of daily life has been grossly disproportionate to what is really going place. At that time, I was being as courteous as possible and doing my best to keep it together as much as I could.
Now, anytime someone’s behaviours cause me to feel upset or frustrated, I remind myself that I don’t really know what’s going on in their life and try to let it go at that. I make an effort to pause, remind myself not to take things personally, and have faith that the other person is doing the best they can.
It’s possible that you’ll never know the full extent of someone else’s gratitude for a seemingly little act of generosity.
I can assure you, though, that while I was going through one of the worst periods in my life, the generosity of friends and strangers alike was the only thing that kept me going; they were a lifeline. I have not stopped thinking about them, and I expect it to continue for the rest of my life. I have no doubt in my mind that kind deeds will have a lasting impact.
Even with those that you see practically daily, you don’t actually know everything about them.
Perhaps you were given poor service at a restaurant that you frequent on a regular basis. You believe that the new waitress who seems preoccupied and melancholy should be terminated from her position.
It’s possible that on that day, her doctor informed her that the cancer had returned. She continued to go to work despite the fact that she needed money for her medical treatment.
Perhaps instead, she had just learned that a loved one had passed away on that day… despite the fact that she had just accidentally dropped a drink, you chose to make a spectacle over it.
You believed that having a few drops of wine on your beloved dress was the worst thing that could happen, and that it may have caused her to lose her job.
There is a possibility that the person who passed away was the father of her children, whom she must now pay for on her own.
Maybe you were rushing late to work, and being delayed in traffic seemed like the worst possible thing that could happen to you because of how late you were.
It’s possible that the traffic block was caused by an accident that took the life of the driver who was in front of you.
The practice of accepting people for who and as they are
It’s not hard to form an opinion of someone based only on their outward appearance. After all, all that we have to go on when referring to another person is what we have seen and learned about them. Take into consideration for a moment the possibility that this individual may not feel very comfortable discussing their issues with you. It’s possible the person was fortifying himself during that time so that they could be there for you when you needed them. to be there with you at that same time and to be present there.
Read more: The Power of Thoughts
I believe it is essential to acquire the skill of learning to accept people just as they are and to appreciate the things that other people choose to share with you. It is not the duty of other individuals to behave or communicate in the manner that you would want them to. If we can accept people for who they are without feeling the need to alter them in any way, life would be a lot simpler for all of us.
Being there for others even when they are unable to be present for you
My friendships were as tight as they’ve ever been, and I’d tell just a select few people everything that was going on with me. There have been many moments when I’ve had the sensation that I’m living in the past. They would be among the first few individuals I would contact to discuss my issues. Certain friendships have either become more distant or more significant to me throughout the course of my life. I’ve noticed that I’m more closer to my more recent pals than I am to my more established ones. Invest your money and time on you.
I’ll confess that it was a difficult period for a while, but as I reflect back on it now, I see that my perspective on the situation was quite narrow-minded. I came to the conclusion that I needed to be there in an even greater capacity for the individuals who are important to me. That is something I’m still working on accomplishing.
When I first started hanging out with my new buddy, I didn’t get the impression that she considered me to be someone who was particularly close to her. Nevertheless, mom began showering me with presents on holidays and other important occasions. The fact that she took the time to express me such appreciation for being a part of her life left me feeling really moved. The kind things that she did inspired me to contribute more to our friendship as well. I would remember her on her birthday and either buy her a present or send flowers to her place of work as a birthday present. She was constantly overjoyed by the consideration that was given to her.
Being helpful to another person without expecting anything in return almost never results in a negative outcome.
In terms of improving my relationships and how I interact with other people in general, I am not yet where I want to be. When I am unable to maintain a connection with another person or when the other person seems to be progressing in their life, it may be taxing on me. The fact is that connecting with people is the single most important thing in my life.
What is important to keep in mind is that we should never presume to know what another person is going through, and that it is a better and healthier way to see our relationships to be more tolerant of the other person as they are, as well as how relationships might develop over the course of time.