We All Have a Story

Each of us, had we the desire, could fill a book’s worth of pages with the events of our lives. Those pages would contain the ingredients from which we were made. Those lucky enough to read your words would understand who you are and why you are the person you are.

Sadly, many of us are judged by people who have no regard for our stories. There are people who will focus on one small part of who we are – say, for example, our religious beliefs, our sexual orientation, our weight, our looks, our skin color, our choice in attire, a mistake we made, a lapse in judgement, a simple choice (really, I could go on, but I won’t) – and judge us entirely as a person based on that one miniscule aspect. How one can be judged, so quickly I might add, without all the facts flabbergasts me.

For instance, I have been judged for not readily sharing my feelings. Those people, however, judged without knowing that during a 10 year marriage I had to hide my true feelings or face the wrath of a mad woman who didn’t like what I had to say. Hiding myself became so engrained that even after having left that relationship I still have trouble being honest about my feelings with others. Sure, you could shun me and call me a robot, and you’d be correct from a certain point of view. You would, however, be completely wrong. I do have feelings. I often have so many feelings I don’t know what to do with them. You, however, probably won’t ever know what thoughts and feelings scamper around my head simply because I was conditioned not to share them.

If you’re going to take it upon yourself to judge someone, you should do so with all the facts. Before you make a decision to discount someone, learn who that person is. What they stand for. What makes them tick. Knowledge breeds understanding. Understanding breeds sympathy. Sympathy breeds compassion. Compassion eases suffering.

We could all do with a little less suffering, no?

We are selfish beings, though. We only become vested in something if there’s some reward for us. Taking the time to get to know someone instead of making snap judgements just doesn’t fit in to our hectic schedules.

Furthermore, there are those who seem to take a sort of perverse pleasure in the suffering of others. We revel in episodes of Maury, Springer, and Cheaters. We laugh at the mom who’s brought 20 different men on national television in a desperate search for the father of her child. We gobble buttery popcorn while watching boxing, UFC, or any of the millions of YouTube videos of fights people have taped instead of prevented. We, as a whole, for some reason love to see people torn down. We love to tear people down who are different or have a different point of view. We enjoy “reality” shows where the contestants backstab and ridicule other contestants. We are mercilessly cruel to each other.

We mock.

We laugh.

We deride.

We humiliate.

We hurt.

When we hurt we lash out at others. I know I am guilty of this and I’d bet money you are, too. In my darkest hours I’ve said and done some reprehensible things. I’m not proud of this and were it possible I’d take back every sin. Every insult. Every spiteful word uttered.

But what if we trained ourselves to behave differently? What if, instead of mocking someone who is different, we attempt to understand them? What if, instead of looking at a bedraggled homeless man with contempt, we offered him a meal? What if, instead looking the other way when we see abuse, we offer assistance? What if, instead of glaring at a mother struggling to control her children, we offer empathy? What if, instead of fearing those with mental illness, we attempt to help them? What if, instead of only considering how things affect us, we consider what things have affected the things affecting us?

We all have a story. That story has molded us into the beings we are. Have you ever been bad-mouthed by someone and thought, “If he/she only knew…”? I have and it is with that in mind that I try not to make snap judgements. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’m willing to let people have their say. I try to be empathetic. I try to be compassionate. I try to do these things because we all have a story…and that story is worth learning.

I’m only human, though, and I’m not always successful. But I’m trying.

Not a one of us is perfect. Everyone one of us has made mistakes, and will do so again. There are many sayings I could drop on judgmental, intolerant people, such as, “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Or, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Or even, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” You get the point, hopefully.

I realize this piece has kind of been all over the place, but what I’m trying to say is this: humanity, at this moment, is disappointing. I have so much to say about that and trying to fit it all into one post is impossible. The fact remains, though. Flip on the news and watch. The only part of the program you won’t hear about human depravity is during the weather, and recently even the weather reports have been filled with depravity (-10 degrees is cruel and unusual!).

Let us change it. Let’s all do our part to make this a better world for all. Let’s answer hatred with love. Anger with kindness. Intolerance with understanding. Differences with tolerance. Smile at a stranger. Say hi to a passerby. Hold the door for the person behind you. Small acts such as these will add up quickly and can make a huge difference in someone’s day.

Above all, be kind and treat others with dignity and respect.

This meandering mind-dump has been a #1000Speak post.

1000Speak started with an understanding that even though we might get older, we still all need the metaphorical village around us, and the compassion of others in our lives. Then the sudden thought happened – what if 1000 of us wrote about compassion all at once? From there, the movement has taken on its own life; has burgeoned and grown and spread a whole lot of love and connection and ‘villageyness’.

Spread the love using the hashtag #1000Speak

Join the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion group on Facebook.

And join in – together we’re stronger.

49 thoughts on “We All Have a Story

  1. Taking the time to understand someone’s story can make the world of difference. Like you say we should always treat others with dignity and respect, but figuring out how to move beyond differences to understanding is key.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this meandering mind-dump. You are absolutely correct in that we are all human and will make mistakes. Learning from them and not repeating them makes us better, hopefully. I especially like the if he or she knew scenario. We don’t. Maybe that rude customer bit our head off because mom or dad died last night. They aren’t gonna announce that to the world.

    That said, empathy and compassion are around. Their soft voices are overpowered by the cacophony of the other noises.

    Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading it. There is empathy and compassion out there, but it seems difficult to find. At least, it does for me. Hopefully all of these posts everyone is writing will put people in a compassionate frame of mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sharing my feelings is difficult for me too. Simply because I’m accustomed to living in my own head and not used to the fact that anyone cares about said feelings. Plus I often don’t know how to express myself. Writing has really been a huge blessing to me.

    Scott, this is a well written post, and so well worth reading.

    As you say we all have failings. From an overall perceive I try to be under standing. People who are judgmental towards others is however something I really don’t like. It upsets me. I guess that makes me judgmental towards them, I’m not perfect. i’ve never claimed to be.

    I as you, we try to be compassionate. We try to understand. We succeed. We fail. But we try.

    As for you, you have been an excellent friend to me, no matter how open or not open you are about your emotions. I fail in the same are. It makes us human. We don’t always want anybody to know what we are going through.

    Personally I dislike pity just as much as judgement. To me they are one and the same. And there is a huge difference between pity and compassion.

    Okay this comment has now been all over the place. I hope you understand most of it. 🙂 if not we can always discuss it for clarification.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I think that’s another thing I struggle with is believing anyone cares to hear about my feelings.

      Anyhow, I’m glad to know you think I’ve been a good friend. I don’t always feel like one.


      1. you are always understanding, and not judgmental and don’t mind if I chat you up whenever. 🙂

        Plus you know I care to hear. (hugs)
        One day we may get there. For now you got a friend. 🙂


  4. It made perfect sense to me, Scott. I don’t know what that says about the state of my brain but I know yours and your heart are entirely in the right place, coming from the right space. Maybe you have to have known a level of hardship to be non-judgmental, be more compassionate. But it can be taught. ‘There, by the grace of god, go I’ strikes me as another we need to think on. We’re none of us out of the woods and need to remember that everything can change in a second. I want for others what I would wish for me. #1000speak is a good place to start or continue from. Our voices among many make that difference. All perfect sense. Have a hug and ❤ . I've just learned how to make that emoticon but love's been around since forever. Sending some your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m not sure what it says about you that you understand this, either, but at least someone understands me. 😉

      To be honest, hitting rock bottom took a lot of judgmentalness out of me. In that regard, I’m glad I hit rock bottom.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautifully done, by BTFFFL. I love your heart and your soul, and all the cantankerous, sometimes grouchy, wonderful, shinybright person you are. You might act distant, but there are reasons. You might be sad, but it’s explainable. You ALWAYS have my back, and you make time for me, and you give me common sense and sound reasoning and you are a wonderful, wonderful chap and I’m privileged to call you my friend.

    We all can be harsh sometimes. And we all can try to do better.

    I can’t promise not to judge or act without compassion. But I can promise to TRY. And I will 🙂


    1. Trying is all any of us can do. Just putting forth the effort us HUGE.

      As for being cantankerous …that’s just fun. 😉

      And I’ll always do my best to make time for you. That’s what friends are for.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful message, Scott.

    I don’t think it’s all over the place at all. We do hide ourselves…it’s understandable. We protect ourselves and we become different people. It’s a beautiful thing when we start to come out from behind that mask. And you’re right..we don’t know everyone else’s story…we all have different experiences and we’re all in different places in life. Remembering this and having some compassion is a good thing.

    I think you are awesome. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Michelle.

      Understanding that there’s a story behind everybody’s actions is something I only learned once I started blogging. Blogging has been valuable to me in a plethora of ways.


  7. You are so right…not one among us can claim to have clean hands. It’s in our nature to judge and jump to conclusions and I should perhaps only speak for myself. I do it. And I don’t like that about myself. It’s up to me to change it.
    I was raised in a family where feelings were not encouraged. A long history of alcoholism, mental illness, and secret keeping made expression of emotion unacceptable. So I completely understand the seemingly robotic actions of hiding feelings.
    This is a wonderful piece and it sounds so simple when you just lay it out, doesn’t it? For many, it isn’t. For me it is difficult sometimes. But difficult does not mean impossible.


    1. It is in our nature to judge and it is only recently I learned how often and how harshly I did so. Thankfully, that’s one area I can say I’ve made vast improvements in.

      It does seem simple, but sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to achieve. Once something is so ingrained it’s tough to dig it out. For me, it was my second divorce and becoming so emotionally unsteady that I did a few things that I had judged others for in the past. That’s when I understood that people aren’t horrible for a simple lapse in judgment or for making bad decisions while emotionally compromised.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your meandering mind dump says a lot. It’s really not difficult to be kind. And it feel so good. You’re great at kindness. More people could stand to be more like you, my friend. Good post.


  9. I knew someone who used so say the world would be a better place if the news went like this: There were two fires, one robbery, and one accident. Now sports…
    His point was much the same as yours and they even teach it in journalism – if it bleeds, it leads. And that’s sad, isn’t it?
    None of us is without sin in the area of compassion – not one among us can claim to have always been compassionate, to never have hurt another. The key is recognizing it, seeking and giving forgiveness, learning, and moving forward.
    (Still me – new Google account. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me)


    1. Hi Lisa!

      Yes, it IS sad. It makes me wonder, though…is the “If it bleeds it leads” motto the media’s way of shocking us into attention or is it because they know there’s a preternatural human preference for tragedy? You know, like being unable to look away from a car wreck or something.

      I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t get it.


      1. I think it goes back to sensationalism in the yellow journalism era. When the big papers were in hot competition for readers and sales, those stories were front page to drive sales. So what’s the saddest part – that the publishers know it and exploit it? That the subscribers and buyers grab it so hungrily? Either way, it points to the fact that as people we are kind of twisted. I don’t want to believe that. I think we’re in a strange reality where we think that has to be up front because it’s “important” news. OK, of course it is. But if we keep making it important, are we perpetuating the evils in society that continue to grab those front page headlines? What if we make the good stuff important – what has been traditionally lumped into “human interest”? It comes down to the media’s ability to influence what people talk about. It’s a choice that has to start somewhere.


  10. I saved this from the weekend because I wanted to make sure I came back and commented on how incredible your words are on this incredible movement. EVERY one of us has a story, sometimes we are the hero and sometimes the villain. The hope is with compassion the hero wins more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true. I’m a hero to some (I don’t understand that) and a villain to others (I DO understand that). I can’t control anyone but myself, though, and I do the best I can to be someone those who love me can be proud of.


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