Human connection is what makes life and love worthwhile
Think about the last time you were in a crowded public space. Maybe you’re in one right now. Or maybe you’re in your office pretending to do some work.
Look around at the people. What do you see?
Suits. Shorts. Dresses. Scrolling through phones. Baggy pants. Tight pants. Whatever THAT outfit is.
Maybe you see an accountant or a doctor or a barista. Maybe you see a janitor or a teacher.
What you are really looking at, though, is a society full of dynamic and unique human animals who are experiencing a variety of feelings, emotions, frustrations, or desires.
Right at the very instant you see them, there is a universe of thoughts happening inside their mind that is dictating their actions.
Particularly in the age of social media, we are fed a hyper-curated display of people’s lives that does not necessarily reflect reality. Vulnerability or challenge is rarely shown, which makes someone seem distant. How does everyone else seem to have it all figured out?
The truth is: They don’t. But nobody is saying it out loud.
Someone is having a hard time paying the bills. Someone is facing a health challenge. Someone may be in the process of losing a loved one. Someone is just celebrating a promotion or their company being purchased. Someone is going through a divorce while the person next to them just got engaged.
Perhaps that person who cut you off this morning in traffic is rushing to get their child to the hospital.
Maybe the person who wrote that nasty comment on your YouTube video just lost their job and is lashing out because they can’t pay the bills.
Maybe the person you’re judging because they “should be wearing more clothing” has just lost 50 pounds and they’re proud of their body.
When there are 8 billion humans roaming the planet, all born into different cultures, families, locations, and ecosystems simply by random chance, it is impossible to understand individual reasons for actions.
The good news is, it really doesn’t matter. If we can adopt a mindset of acceptance and curiosity, we minimize our capacity for judgment. What’s more, we strengthen our ability to control our own reactions to outside stimuli.
Being cut off on the way to work becomes a lot less frustrating if you consider that scenario about rushing a child to the hospital.
All we see on a daily basis is a snapshot of someone’s journey. We see them in a current but transitional form. Each of us is growing, aging, and evolving as every second passes. I believe on some level, we are all aware of it, even if we don’t express it.
And some of us are playing a role out in the world based on our job or career.
If you think that stern CEO doesn’t have feelings, you’re kidding yourself. They simply understand they cannot show much vulnerability or emotion in the workplace because they need to display authority and confidence. Granted, sometimes they should be a little more “human.”
But it doesn’t mean they aren’t opening up to peers or loved ones in a safe environment.
If you think the happy-go-lucky guy you see running every morning doesn’t feel frustration or sorrow, you’re kidding yourself again.
Every single person you meet is experiencing a different reality than you based on their upbringing and past lessons life has taught. They interpret situations differently, they’ve been treated differently, they’ve had different opportunities than you.
Some better, some worse.
But the one thing we all have in common is the capacity and ability to feel. To connect. To communicate. To express ourselves. Some of us are just more comfortable using it than others.
I challenge you to take a moment and consider the potential reasons for someone’s actions before you react to them. If they are being intentionally vindictive or mean, react accordingly. But, if there may be an underlying influence that you have the ability to communicate about, understand, and maybe even help with — there is an opportunity for greatness to be had.
None of us can change the world alone, but if we each seek to show up every day with intentional kindness, lots of small impacts will make a big difference.
Give a little kindness to someone today. You might be the only person who does.