I have prided myself on working very hard to never judge another person no matter how much their actions or behaviors are out of line with what I believe to be right. I found myself in line at the grocery store yesterday behind an elderly man who was very upset with the cashier and it appeared life in general. I am not sure what the two were talking about but I think the entire store heard the man yell: “Well, Obama will give you anything you want for free! Whole country has fallen apart since we let that man become President a second time. He gives everyone what they want, no one has to work for anything anymore.” Anyone that knows me knows that I have no filter when it comes to what comes out of my mouth, which is not always a good thing. I said aloud: “Really, time and place!” Once the man left the store I started bitching to the cashier about what an asshole he had been and how out of line he was. It was not until later in the day did I realize that the cashier said nothing negative about the man who was yelling at her. She just took a deep breath and continued on with her next customer commenting on how cute my daughter was. I have no idea why this man bothered me so much but he really struck a nerve with me. I started judging this man without having any clue what his life circumstances were. I’m an elderly medical social worker for God sake, I of all people should not be judging a man yelling about our current President. For all I know this man had no one in his life and was so angry and lonely that he just wanted someone to vent to. That cashier may have been the only person he saw in his entire day. He did not need my comments or judgment.
I know for myself, chronic pain has caused many people to judge me. People judged me when I was not managing chronic pain well and people still judge me today when I am managing my pain in a healthy way. It is a no win situation. People with chronic pain will be judged just as people without chronic pain are judged. Everyone you meet on the street or are extremely close to is battling something you may have no idea about. Often times I find myself worrying why a friend or family member is angry with me because he or she is acting “off” when in reality they are dealing with their own crap and it has nothing to do with me.
We all need to make more of an effort to stop judging other people, especially people with an invisible illness. Just because someone looks great on the outside does not mean they are doing well. That is why for so many years I honestly wished I had been diagnosed with Cancer or anything that could be visible so I would not be judged and people would believe me. I know that may seem like a horrible thing to wish for but as the title of my blog states: No one gets flowers for chronic pain. Of course, I do not wish any illnesses on myself now. I am not happy I have chronic pain and it still sucks sometimes that everyone thinks I am fine. However, I am healthy and for the most part happy.
Whether or not you have chronic pain try and not judge another person for their behavior or actions. Think how much happier each one of us would be if we just focused on our own actions and behaviors instead of judging others? People like me who suffer with chronic pain is a perfect example of what appears to have a “perfect life” is actually struggling on a daily/hourly basis.