Every morning I usually go to Cumberland Farms to get coffee before work. If you’ve never been, it’s like a Sheetz or Wawa (fancy gas station coffee lol), and you can make your own coffee. It’s a lot cheaper than Dunkin or Starbucks (see my previous post about spending!) and I like how it tastes. Anyway, there was a man next to me also making a coffee and I noticed he had a water bottle with him and he was pouring some into his iced coffee. I realized that there was probably alcohol in the water bottle that he was adding to his drink. At first I chuckled to myself. Then I got a little angry, hoping that he was not driving while drinking his spiked coffee. After I left to go to work I had a third thought. I realized that so many people are in pain over something in their lives and we each have a different way of dealing with it.
My whole ride to work I was wondering what sort of pain this man had been through in his life. Maybe he lost his job(hopefully not DUE to his drinking!). Maybe he lost his spouse or a close family member to a disease or accident. Maybe he struggles with addiction and doesn’t know how to stop drinking or get help. Maybe he deals with chronic pain and he uses alcohol to take the edge off.
We are all dealing with some sort of pain from our past or our present. Some people just hide it better than others. The way we each deal with our pain is very different from one another. Some behaviors are super destructive to others, while some behaviors are destructive to the individual and other behaviors may not be destructive at all. Some people drink and use drugs to ignore their pain. Others smoke cigarettes, use food to cope, or retreat into themselves. There’s also those that are in so much pain, they bully others to make themselves feel better. Then there are those people that pretend they don’t have pain and mask it, using humor or arrogance to hide themselves from others. Some people are really in tune with their pain and are able to address it and really “feel” it by listening to music or journaling.
- Is the person hurting? The point of this post to remind everyone that many people do things to protect themselves from being truly “seen” by others and from being hurt even more. I urge you not to automatically judge their behaviors, but to ask yourself “are they hurting?” When you really get to know someone and understand them, you realize that many of their destructive behaviors are defense mechanisms. I know a few people that put on a happy face for everyone in public in order to pretend nothing is wrong but then they go home and drink to forget about their problems.
- What can you do about it? Of course, if the person’s behavior is hurting someone else, it is totally acceptable to report it to the proper authorities in the matter. If you know a person that bullies others or is physically abusive, then you should no doubt report it. If no one is being hurt and you are close enough to the person, try to get to the root of their problem and talk to them about it. If you feel that you cannot give the best advice for their situation, help them find a therapist to talk to or a physician that might be able to treat them.
- What if I am the person that is hurting? Recognize that we aren’t all that different from one another and many people are hurting just like you. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about and ask them to help you figure out what to do. Also, sometimes just talking about our pain can make us feel better and understood. Write down your feelings, seek out a therapist, and search for group therapy sessions. There are people that love you and are willing to help you!
- Know that better days are coming! Just like our lives are never the same every day, neither is our pain. We have good days and bad days. Do not dwell on your bad days! Better days are always on the horizon. Keep on pushing.