- The football player in high school with good grades and good looks.
- The nextdoor neighbor that always travels, while wearing the cutest outfits.
- The young entrepreneur, in a business suit, with his face glued to a brand new iPhone.
- That sweet girl from the coffee shop, smiling, laughing and never without a friend or two.
We’ve all seen these characters or ones like them. We make judgements about their lives based on what we see. But what if I lifted the veil and showed you a different perspective? One that helps to paint a whole other picture than the one you have in your mind now…
- The boy whose family abuses him, hardly lets him eat, who has to sleep on the floor. He puts all of his energy into keeping his grade point average at a 4.0 and excelling at a sport so he can earn scholarships so he can afford to get himself far away from them once he graduates.
- The woman running from an abusive relationship who found refuge with a church that travels while teaching the gospel. Most of her clothes are from old lost and found items the church has collected and the rest from a women’s shelter she was staying at recently.
- The man who grew up bouncing from shelter to shelter, spent all of his time in the library, devoted to one day opening a business that helps orphans get into college. After years of Goodwill suits and just scraping by, his company finally received funding and takes off. After spending every penny on this dream and education, he has finally bought himself his first phone at 27.
- The woman who lost her parents in a terrible car accident six months ago. Daily therapy, a few hospital stays and medication to help her anxiety and depression. She still has trouble with her racing thoughts, so she never likes being alone and even shares a room with her older sister in their shared apartment. For the first time she is feeling like everything may be alright one day.
There are a million different stories like these. You never know what someone is going through, what they’ve been through or how hard they are trying to simply survive. With social media, it has become far too easy to compare our lives to others. Never forget that people generally only share the best moments, the highlights, or even a fake reality to hide their hardships.
Judgement is a natural human reaction, so don’t feel bad for assuming others “have it easy.” However, you can just as easily choose to bypass that first instinct and replace it with perspective. Kindness is free. So even if you don’t think someone needs or deserves your kindness, it is very possible you could be the only person who made them smile today, or even this week.
Be the kindness you wish to see in the world.
Marketing Coordinator/Office Manager at the Psychiatric Wellness Center
Volunteer Secretary with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Mental Health Advocate
Gianna De Keles, MS
Psychiatric Wellness Center (Bakersfield, CA) – (661) 431-1555 #3 (New Patient)
Crisis Textline (Crisis Text Line is a global not-for-profit organization providing free, anonymous crisis intervention via SMS message) – Text “Listen” to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1800-273-8255
Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
Alliance Against Family Violence (Bakersfield, CA) – 1-661-322-0931