"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
I was recently reminded of this saying from Scottish Minister, John Watson (1850-1907). Within just a few days of being reminded of this message, I learned of a friend who experienced a death in their family, another friend who is going through some significant family challenges, another one with some extreme work circumstances, and a person who needed to be evaluated by the EMT's!
I realize that I just happened to be connected to each of these individuals and they were comfortable sharing their story and lives with me, but I don't think I am that unique. We may not always hear about the battles that the people around us are fighting, but I think if we could put on a special pair of glasses that let us see the burdens others are carrying around with them, I don't think we would actually want to wear those for very long!
But then I got to thinking, what if those glasses also came with a small reminder next to the little bubble that named each individual's struggle, and that message said, Please be kind! Like, if I was wearing glasses and my friend came up to me and I could see a little sign that said, "Just lost a family member, please remember to be kind." Or if my other friend approached me and through my glasses I could see a message that said, "Please be kind, I'm really struggling at work right now." I wonder what kind of an impact those kindness glasses might have on me?
It also makes me wonder what would happen if I had a few extra pairs that I always had with me so that when I was having a rough day, or something difficult came into my life, I could pass them out to people and it would help them better understand what was happening with me. "Please be kind, I'm really worried about my kids." "My car just died and it's too expensive to repair it, so please remember to be kind."
Now that I am thinking about it, maybe the whole world needs a pair of these glasses! The truth is, everyone is fighting a hard battle, and while my broken car may not be as "big" of a deal as the death of a family member, the point isn't to rate who is suffering more. The power of the glasses would be to remind us that everyone is carrying something and we can all use some kindness in our lives.
Where would this pair of glasses be the most helpful for you? If you are a leader of a team or organization, how would having a pair of glasses like this make you a better leader? Is there a particular person in your life that when you see them coming you want to go the other way? If you could put on a pair of these glasses when you saw them coming, how might it impact your engagement with them?
While these actual glasses don't exist, here's to living this week as if they do!
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