I will admit, I wish I had learned this life-lesson earlier.
However, now that I have learned this amazing lesson, I do look at the world differently. I look at the world with empathy in my heart, even if it starts with anger, I can find the empathy I need now.
So you ask what is that life lesson that has changed me?
Here it is: “People behave the way they do because of circumstances they have endured in life.”
To explain in more detail.
When you meet someone who is rude, or insecure, or who gossips a lot about others and points fingers.
At first it’s easy to think “well that’s just a rude person, I don’t care to be around them.”
And yet, you haven’t scratched the surface.
Because, people don’t act “rude” just to act “rude.”
Something in their life has created that “rude and unkind” disposition.
Perhaps this “rude” person dealt with neglect, abuse, abandonement, loneliness, or perhaps they were bullied, shunned, the list goes on….
How did I learn this?
Through observing a lot of situations in my life, and from my experience teaching school for many years.
Knowing that there is a deeper meaning behind peoples behaviors does not excuse the fact that we can feel “hurt” by them when someone is unkind to us.
However, at the end of the day…there is “always more to the story.”
If we only knew what others had gone through, we somehow find a place of empathy for that person.
Somehow you develop a sense of heartbrokenness for that person, because you know that there must have been something in life that “hurt” them, and they haven’t quite dealt with it. Instead they have taken out their “hurt” on the world around them.
And yes, sometimes you might be that person that gets the brunt of their “mean behavior.”
Now I am by no means allowing anyone to be abusive to you or to be a toxic influence …I believe anything abusive or toxic is firmly unhealthy to be around.
However, I am portraying the reminder that life has dealt us all a hard hand at some point…some more than others, and some to the degree where they are left to live a life of “rudeness” to deal with all the loss and heart ache in their personal lives.
Perhaps you knew this, perhaps you needed the reminder, and perhaps you didn’t.
But at the end of the day I am reminded that our Savior Jesus Christ will look at all our wrong-doings, and he will look at all our hardships and see that often times, our poor behaviors and bad choices came from the devastations dealt in life…. and at that, our Savior shows us mercy, empathy and love beyond measure.
And perhaps, we too, can look at someone’s “rude” actions, and find empathy knowing that at some point in their life, their heartache created so much hurt that they could not escape the rudeness and negativity that encompasses their life….and somehow we can reach down to our merciful area in our hearts and find empathy rather than frustration for that person.
It’s not easy, it’s not meant to be easy. The Savior is the ultimate example of finding love amongst those that ridiculed him.
I hope to always apply this lesson in life because quite frankly, it can make a hard situation melt into a loving scenario.
Not always, but often times it can strengthen relations and bridge gaps in friendships.