There’s recently been a new rule established in our home. You only get a band-aid if there is blood. When you have twins, if one gets a band-aid, the other one wants one as well. So we were going through a ton of band-aids for a while there because I was a sucker. Well, not anymore! There’s a new rule. And so far it’s working out great. They know the rule. They respect the rule. Sometimes. They get it because it’s clear and simple and not much wiggle room.
When I thought about this rule, though, it struck me that this rule actually quite applies to our society as a whole.
When do we really help people? When do we see how much pain people are in? When they bleed. When they have outward signs of distress, not inward.
Mental illness in it’s many many forms, addiction, alcoholism and any kind of abuse is not always a bloody show. Well, it can be, for sure. I got banged up pretty damn good in my day.
But mostly, it’s internal. No blood.
I always say I don’t have a blinking sign on my forehead that flashes “WARNING – ALCOHOLIC APPROACHING” so that people know how to treat me. They shouldn’t have to know.
The way I want to approach everyone I deal with is with kindness. With the understanding that I have no idea who I’m dealing with and what pain they are in. What are they carrying around? I just don’t know.
But I want to be open to hearing their pain. Their needs. Their hurt.
We need to tread lightly. I don’t expect people to treat me with kid gloves and I don’t treat others that way. Just kindness.
The other day, I yelled out after somebody that was entirely rude, JUST BE KIND – IS THAT SO HARD? And then I thought, maybe that defeated my kindness message a tiny little bit. Sigh.
I didn’t see a band-aid. I didn’t know his pain. I should’ve treaded more lightly.
All I can do is tend my side of the street. I am really only responsible for my wounds and my own condition. However, I want to be open to others pain. This is how we help each other. Get each other the help we need. By listening and paying attention and sharing our own stories.
All I can do is remember that most bruises don’t require a band-aid. There is pain all around us that we don’t see. It doesn’t mean we just ignore it. Sometimes we need to flesh it out. Make it bleed. Tend to the wound and THEN put a band-aid on it and make sure it heals.
Check in on each other. Check in on yourselves. How are your wounds? Just because they may not be bleeding right now, doesn’t mean they don’t need tending.
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