Sunday, January 30, 2011

Be Kind - Everyone is Fighting a Battle

Plato said: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Nothing resonates more to me than that little phrase, simple and poignant. When I first began working as a personal trainer, it astounded me that every person I trained, every person I met, was fighting some demon of some sort. It shocked me.

When I walk around, I don't think to myself that everyone has some inner struggle. I don't think to myself that the woman sitting next to me on the bus might be fighting an eating disorder, and the man beside her just lost his fiancee.

But if I can hold so many struggles within myself - then why wouldn't everyone else have their own?
I have a client, and I hope she won't hate me for using her as an example here. But I have a client whom I met about a year ago. She's gorgeous. She's about half my size (so, miniscule) with such a sweet pretty face and a great personality. She's got a good job, studies hard, lives at home. We trained a few times, and then I start learning things about her.

I was so surprised that so much trouble and worry could fit into such a pretty, small, and joyful person. But truly, we are all the same. Fighting our inner demons (and outer ones too) trying to make it through each day as happily as we can.

So what Plato said is true. And this applies to your thoughts as well.

I remember a few years ago I was on the bus and in front of me was a young lady with acne all over her chin and cheeks. And I thought to myself, Oh God, how disgusting. I'm so glad that's not me. 
I caught myself and thought  - thats not very nice. (If you don't have something nice to say, don't speak at all)

A week later, I'm looking in the mirror and I see my chin is breaking out in horrible spots. And I never get acne. I mean, never. So much so that I have been stopped on the street, in restaurants, at the bank, wherever, for people to comment on my clear skin and what products do I use, what's my secret? (Complex 15 ($10 @ Shoppers) and Skyn Iceland Eyecream ($45 @ Sephora) No $300 creams here - thank you parents).

So when I saw those zits, of course I thought to myself, how strange.

And that's not the first time that has happened to me. So I watch what I think. I watch what I say. And I watch how I treat other people.
Be kind.

You never know who's watching.

I once dated a man for a very brief period of time because I saw him be utterly rude to another man when he was up at the bar getting me drinks. He thought I was in the washroom, but there was a line, so I had walked back to find him and there he was, giving this poor guy such a hard time in such a condescending manner for no reason. Instant turnoff.

Be kind.

You never know with whom you're speaking and what the consequences may be.

It was two in the morning a few nights ago and I was lying on my couch with my ridiculously painful back, unable to sleep. The pain hurt so much in such a deep way, that I needed to talk to someone. I was crying. Bawling actually. Who would I call, I thought? My best friend has a baby and is pregnant, so no. My mother is fast asleep. My friends are out partying. I could call my ex, I thought. He understands back pain, I've been with him through numerous bouts of him not being able to move. He would know what to do.
He would be there for me, I figured, our breakup was amicable.
Not so. I left a message stating what terrible pain I was in and I didn't know what to do, and I needed some help.
No call, no email or text the next day inquiring if I were okay, nothing.

Be kind. You never know when you might need it in return.

I think the worst part of our society that gets our rudeness and short-temperdness and generally suffers for our benefits are the service people - the waiters, taxi drivers, bus drivers, cleaners, janitors, garbage collectors, postmen.... it seems like we always throw our annoyances their way for no apparent reason. I try not to.

No, I won't accept rudeness or incompetence. The service at the Barcelona restaurant that R and I ate at was horrible and rude, and I still feel no qualms about having walked out half way through our horrid meal.

But I leave big tips, strike up conversations with taxi drivers and am always polite and cheerful to bus/metro drivers. I take the College streetcar every day and I see what people say and do to the driver. I figure he/she could use someone that smiles and asks him how his day is going.

Be kind.
If you're having a shitty day, chances are someone else is too. No need to compound it.
Be kind.
Everyone is fighting a hard battle. It's a rite of passage to living. That's just life.

Have a great last breath of weekend!


Modality said...

WHY your EX?
You quote Plato.
What about Heraclitus? “You can’t step twice into the same shit. (he said ‘stream’) All things move and nothing remains still. “We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Leave it alone. It is in your face, he ain’t the man: only fanatics bring the world order down, or appease a human soul. No such luck here. When you inflict pain you better hide your hide.

Rebecca said...

Strangely enough, I stumbled upon this page via Google Images, under some obscure image search. This was a beautiful reminder of something I already know, but forget from time to time.
Regarding the acne scenario, you're going to think I'm nuts, but...a couple years ago, I saw a girl with really thin hair on the top of her head, so thin, I could clearly see her scalp. I thought, "wow, that is so gross! I can't believe that's possible for such a young woman, I'm glad I've got such thick hair!" It didn't cross my mind afterwards, until a couple months later. If you can believe it, a friend of mine was playing with my hair one night and said, "wow, it's really thin back here!" Next thing I know, I practically have a bald spot, just like the girl I was judging. By now my hair is pretty much back to normal and I can wear it down again, but I spent almost two years trying to hide my thin spots with hats and ponytails. Talk about a lesson learned.

Clara Vaz said...

Hi Rebecca!
Thanks so much for leaving a comment, I love to read them! And thanks to google for stumbling on my blog ;)
I know its crazy how life teaches us lessons - and always gently reminds us not to be too harsh on people we know nothing about! :)
HOpe you're doing well! Thanks for reading!

fortytwothings said...

Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it--such good reminders.