We all have these ideas in our heads about the person we never want to be. “That” person. The person we loathe. The person we despise with all our being. The person we swear we absolutely never will be. No one wants to be that person, right?
I had those notions, too.
And then I became that person
And do you know what? I’m glad I did, because for me, it was actually a good thing.
If you know me, it’s no surprise that I care very deeply for animals. For the longest time, I held the belief that if someone ever gave up their animal, they were an awful person. I consider myself to be a pretty open-minded person who tends to give others the benefit of the doubt. Except for that. That was one big thing that was super hard for me to look past.
Then, last year, some crappy stuff happened, life got messy, and I had to give up some of my animals. A lot of them, actually. I’d become that person, but, for good reason, I thought. I had good intentions and was doing everything right until life happened and, as hard as I tried, it just wasn’t working. For the sake of myself and my animals, I knew the best decision was for them to be elsewhere and me and my husband worked hard to ensure that they went to excellent rescue organizations who would treat them the way they deserved and needed to be treated. I believed I had made the best decision possible for myself and for the animals.
That’s a good enough reason as any, right? Wait, though. What makes my reason any better than anyone else’s reason? Then I realized, it really doesn’t. That’s life. As hard as we try, sometimes things just don’t go the way we expect or plan for them to. And because of that, we sometimes have to make hard decisions that we really, really don’t want to make, but that we know will be the best, in the long-run. That was me. And that’s a lot of the people that also have to give up an animal. Not everyone, I’m sure, but many.
You know how they say that you can never really understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes? Well, that was my aha moment and the point at which I started walking in those shoes. After I came to this realization, I felt awful for being so judgmental in the past. Who the hell was I to be so quick to write someone off as this horrible person because they had made a decision that I didn’t agree with 100%. Another “that” person that I had become. Oh. My. God.
Now, I tend to look at people’s actions and decisions a whole lot differently. I have to remind myself constantly that I have no idea — NO IDEA — what other people’s lives are like. I have no place to judge. And I think I’ve gotten a whole lot better at showing more compassion and understanding — two things that our world can definitely use a whole bunch more of.
Do you have a bunch of “those” people on a checklist in your head? Now’s the time to get rid of them. I think you’ll find that compassion will naturally fill those spaces in your head and that you’ll look at others a lot differently — and for the better.