We’ve all heard the expression ‘What you see is what you get.’ Well, this is not always true. One of the most aggravating things about having MS is hearing people say “you don’t look sick.” As if there is some particular way those living with MS should appear. I guess I missed the memo.
What we see of others is often an illusion. For some the illusion is self-created to block others out. For others the illusion is created out of necessity to survive day-to-day. Regardless of the circumstances it is not always easy to know what is going on with someone internally. I can say that I am guilty of being quick to make judgements even though I work so hard to fight it. For some reason it is so easy to assume the person who just changed lanes on me is an idiot. The truth is I have no idea what that person might be going through. Maybe they just received terrible news and are on the way to see a loved one in the hospital? Or they might be exhausted from working 3 jobs as a single parent to provide for their family?
The illusion that I create is my body doesn’t hurt and I am okay. I don’t complain much about the daily pain that comes with Multiple Sclerosis. I don’t see the benefit of being that person who looks for sympathy. The truth is that even if someone took the time to listen, they really only care for a moment and then move on to their own problems; this is the reality of life.
It is only when I take a deep breathe and step back that I remind myself to be more aware of what others might be going through. A smile instead of a scowl could be the difference between someone pulling a trigger and someone seeking help. Don’t depreciate your value to the world around you.
Take time to pause before reacting and consider the other side of the equation. When you do you’ll see that we all need to be slower to judge and quicker to sympathize.