Last week I ran into a guy I've known a long time. One of those relationships where you don't see one another often but when you do meet up you talk like you saw each other yesterday. You know?
Anyway, quite frankly he's kind of an ass, which is why we're not very close. But as we stood there talking a saw something in him that will forever change our relationship. I saw fear. A very deep fear of life and a belief that the world isn't safe.
It's why he's an ass. It's why he drinks too much and hides behind a computer monitor. It's why he keeps people at a distance, only talks about "safe" subjects like what's on TV and the latest sports thing, why he's way overprotective with his kids (to the point of smothering them), why he gets mad and walks away when you mention anything that might rock his safe little boat, and why he has such a low tolerance for people.
I've known this man for years and until last week I never saw it. Not a glimpse! And now that I have seen it I'll treat him differently and with more kindness because I *see* the truth of who he is.
The reason I'm sharing this story is that I think it's important to look at those around you, especially the really annoying ones, and see them differently. See the wounded child, the traumatized teenager, the adult living in fear and pain. See how they're trapped in a prison of their own making, unable to expand, grow, or truly let love in. See the truth of who they are.
And seeing them differently, decide how you will treat them from now on. It could make a huge positive impact on both your lives.