Thursday, June 30, 2016

Invisible battles

Today I was reminded again of the truth of a well-worn saying attributed to Wendy Mass: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." And I was reminded that it's not just true for strangers I brush up against in passing, or people in obvious distress. It's also true for dear friends, close family members, intimates in my life. Even the people I think I know the best have internal struggles and burdens which they fear to share with others.

In fact, I believe the closer you are to someone, the more difficult it can be to share certain things with that person because when you're so deeply invested, you can develop a much greater fear of rejection from him or her. If I tell a stranger something that's hard for me to share and that stranger blows me off, so what? It was just a stranger, anyway. But if I share a deeply-concealed burden with my brother, my mother or my beloved, and I'm rejected for it -- well, that's devastating.

So. I'm trying to be more kind. I'm trying to be patient. And most of all, I'm trying to be brave enough to share long-held and closely-guarded burdens with loved ones. It's not easy, but I'm beginning to realize that it's crucial.

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