A few years ago, a friend imparted onto me some very simple, yet powerful advice that has always stuck with me. He told me that one of his foundational principles is respecting this idea that “everyone else is fighting battles that you likely do not know about.” I think this is a perhaps trite, but largely true sentiment.
Life is hard. We all have demons in our lives. Often, life is suffering. There is beauty to the suffering, but the cold hard truth of the world is that time is relentless. The world continues to spin, regardless of your emotions and feelings and circumstance. And I think, while we all go on personal journeys, challenging our own obstacles, we also must recognize that everyone else is climbing similar, but entirely different hills.
There is no award in life for “ultimate suffering.” We are not competing as to who has the shittiest circumstance.
The other part of this is that you never really know what is going on in someone else’s head. And there are lots of things that could be going on. So many that you should not spend time trying to guess, you should just leave that thing alone. Everyone is fighting a very scary demon in their head, some of have it more or less under control, but it all happens on a personalized timeline.
So what does this mean? Perhaps obvious, but it shows that you should always treat people with respect. You should always follow the silver rule – do unto others as you would want done unto you.
Also published on Medium.