I read this quote posted on a friend's Facebook feed. "You're hoping I fall down. I'm praying you get on your feet. We are not the same." Author Unknown. It reminded me of a time when I was struggling through something. Some of my friends rose to the occasion; some didn't. Much to my delight, a few relationships even grew so stronger while it seemed like others were waiting for me to fail so they could say, see! When you're already struggling, the harsh judgment of others can only compound things!
Falling is not a problem. We all do that. It's what you do when you hit the ground that matters. It's the story you tell yourself while you're lying there. Because your success, from that moment on, will be in direct proportion to that story. Here's the caveat. Other people will try to give you their version - good, bad, or indifferent. It's essential to be able to reject the opinions of those who don't have your best interest at heart or who may be overly judgmental by nature. Their opinions can incarcerate you if you allow it.
There are a few schools of thought on how most people will handle someone else's struggle. You can see the situation and say something like, "Can you believe she forgot her daughter's snack again today?" or you can say, "Wow, she must have a lot on her mind. I'll throw in an extra snack and set a reminder to check in on her later." It's easy to miss it when someone we love is navigating a hard time. You may even know some of the stories, but not ultimately be aware of how it's impacting them inside.
The good news is, hard times present an opportunity for everyone to learn something new and show up differently. There are lots of choices. We can be judgemental and gossip, or we might show a little compassion, be curious, understanding, and lend a hand. Perhaps the most significant opportunity is to look within yourself and ask, why have I judged this person this why? What was going on for me? You can sit back and think - because I was right and he/she was wrong! That black and white, either-or thinking can often shift an outcome in an unwanted direction.
My mom always said, "Never look down on anyone unless you are reaching out to help them."
So I invite you to take a moment to think, who do you know who might be struggling? How can you be an instrument of peace to them? Take a moment to reach out, lend a hand, share a kind word, or just listen. Don't forget to look for the win-win and learn something about yourself and make a lasting change!!!