My stepson’s friend came to visit us this weekend. She is very private and quiet. I found myself wondering about her experience. What was she actually feeling? What are her experiences that have led her up to this moment? Actually it’s just not her. I think similar things about people that I see while shopping in stores, or out hiking, or at a restaurant.
It can be easiest to guess about a person’s inner life. To see their actions and just fill in the blanks about their side of life. In the past this approach has left me feeling separate and alone at times.
These days I try and be open, curious, and respectful about another’s intimate experience. I try to consider that they’ve had a rich life of relationships with other people, and events, and things that I’ll never know anything about, that has brought them to this moment. I sometimes ponder that we may seem different on the surface, but perhaps we have a lot more in common than I’ll ever know.
Thinking this way has come from learning to be more compassionate with myself. I’ve learned that being more gentle and considerate with what I think, do, and feel makes my life a better place to be. I’m learning to expand this to my relationship with others.