As I sat and watched my friend work the room I smiled. I admired how he captured everyone’s attention. He made them laugh and gave them everything they wanted and more. He kept it light, but professional and all together. As he navigated the room, I sat back and watched but I also thought about what he’s been through. I thought about all of the conversations we’ve had across the spectrum of work and life, and how none of the trials and tribulations mattered in that moment. It was like watching a masterful conductor lead the symphony orchestra.
I thought about what it took for me to get up and out this morning and how grateful I was that I could on my own. I thought about how many other people struggle to get their day going and what it takes to get through the day. Later in the day I learned that a couple I know has extra help to get their kids ready in the morning. They coordinate dropping the children off but have the means to have extra help just for the morning and other extenuating circumstances. How awesome would that be?!?! I could use a little help just for me!
So back to my friend. I admired his ability to keep his cool and wear his mask so gracefully. Everyone in this scene was wearing masks and projecting their respective agendas upon the others, but some less aggressively than others. We do this everyday. Some are operating out of fear, some are empowered to get through their day as desired. Others dont have the tools they need to get by, some have tools that are just within reach but pride is in the way preventing them from their relief. This had me thinking about what each of us actually goes through each day, day in and day out, and what we project to the world in the name of an image. Okay, sometimes it’s image and others out of necessity.
We all experience varying levels of circumstance to navigate in addition to the daily stressors of a job or relationship or just simple survival. And we don’t know it. We see co-workers and engage in meaningless banter throughout the day but rarely get to know someone as a being. Knowing what we each go through can help us show a little more compassion, empathy and understanding for our respective human being and what they may be going through in a given moment or day. I thank my friend for his example today, for reflecting upon my efforts to show up, and the reminder to practice empathy and compassion daily.