I walk past other human beings every single day who don’t know my story — and many of whom never will. The reality is that the vast (VAST) majority of people you encounter in life simply will not ever know you on such a personal level, as to be able to fully grasp the weight of your journey. And that has nothing to do with loneliness, or missed connections — you can be the most extroverted, most socially-inclined cat on the block, and still — there are just far too many other individuals existing in the world, leading lives parallel to yours, for them to have the time or opportunity to gain a tangible understanding of your inner workings.
I started writing this post without much direction, but now it seems clear what I’m rooting around for:
Most people don’t, and won’t, know dip about your story your struggle your battle your path your walk of life…it stands to follow, then, that their perceptions of you are likely inaccurate; definitely incomplete. And accordingly, there’s probably no good reason to let uninformed judgments affect you one way or another. Self-doubt and shame are tools of oppression, found etched in the walls of prison cells we needlessly construct around perceptions of self held in our minds.
So if you take a step back to think about this, you might realize that the same internal strife is taking place within all those “others”…those others who may potentially be throwing mental daggers your way. Because you probably don’t know their story, either. Their opinions and perceptions may come from an even deeper layer of self-esteem issues. So equally, your business is really to ‘keep your side of the street clean,’ as they say in the rooms of A.A. The actions of others do not give you carte blanche to respond in retaliation, regardless of context.
Bottom line here is the essence of zen: remain in a state of non-conflict, whichever way the winds of human traffic may blow around you. It is a skill I try, and sometimes fail, to practice daily. I typically reserve my obscenities & cursing for inanimate objects who can never feel any kind of hurt from my words, but on the exceptional occasion that my temperfuse gets the better of me, saying a little gratitude can do me well to re-center and move beyond. Grateful to be practicing forgiveness just as I am grateful for all the forgiveness I have received in my life — the scope & volume of which is immeasurable & incredible.