Fact. Each person has issues they are dealing with. The sooner we realise the truth of this fact, the easier relationships, friendships and life in general, will be to navigate. I cannot promise that all will be miraculously fixed and life will become easier, but I do know, from experience, that it will be easier to deal with people and relate to them when you realise that it is not you against them and the entire world, but that each person is waging their own private battle against whatever demons they might be facing. Such acknowledgement makes it easier to shoulder the burdens we bear. It also makes us kinder and more forgiving. Some people have so much hurt and pain and ugliness in their lives. It is all they have ever known, through no fault of their own. As a result, they cannot give love and support and kindness. How can they? No one can give more than they have!
As much as we might not like to admit it, we people, are all the same. Our lack of humaneness drives us apart, but whether or not we like it, our mutual humanity binds us together. It must. We like to think of ourselves as spectacularly individualistic and ” a special case.” No other person could possibly relate to the struggles we have to face. We are special and amazing and so deeply damaged. The world owes us pity and respect and sympathy and a get-out-of-jail-free card because of the personal hell we endure. If we took a second out of our navel-gazing and pity parties, we would realise that we are not that special. Ambrose Bierce said it better than I ever could have when he stated that “there is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.” What we do not know are other people and their circumstances, their private hells and demons, the reasons that they are the way that they are. And we can never know unless they tell us, and they will never tell us unless we stop judging them and condemning them. We need to allow them an opportunity to open up and share with us. People are fragile and need love and understanding. We are not that special.
Each person has some anchor weighing their spirit down. Maybe not every single waking moment of every day. But it exists. It may be something universally acknowledged and acknowledgable as devastating and sad and worthy of the sympathy of the general population. It could be a debilitating illness, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, the foreclosure on a home, a terrible relationship with parents ; the potential list is endless. It might be something deeply personal which other people cannot relate to and do not believe is worthy of the title of burden.
It is irrelevant that you think the burden of someone else is less painful or debilitating than yours or that of the next person. It is incredibly callous when someone is in pain and people draw the attention of the sufferer to the condition of a person in worse circumstances. The fact that someone else has greater issues does not nullify the validity of the suffering of someone else! There will always be someone in a better position, as there will be someone in more dire circumstances. There is no need to undermine one situation to validate another. All could be equally valid. Such a lack of understanding riles my spirit. It is not a competition.
Try and live a kind life. If you want people to deal kindly with you, give them a reason to do so. Kindness, love, forgiveness and mercifulness. State it explicitly: I need what everyone needs in this life we live. The journey is hard enough as it is; there is no need to exacerbate the suffering we experience. I want to live a beautiful life . Motivated only by love and kindness.
Karma is fantastic and universally acknowledged. The truth however, is that I do not wish to act motivated only by fear. Often we hear that God calls on us to be kind and loving and live our lives well and love and worship Him. He asks for this from us not because we fear Him. He wants us to do so because we love Him. Love must be a greater motivator, a purer motivator than fear. I want to be a good person so badly, not because I fear bad karma and repercussions from the Universe, but because I have a genuine love and respect for the struggles of each individual who crosses my path. The world needs a little more love, respect, tolerance and gentleness. That makes sense.
I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind. Neil Gaiman.
Matilda Nengare 31 December 2012