While swapping "this has been a tough year" stories with a friend, they shared with me some words of wisdom that had once been passed down to them. Something their father had always said was if you and everyone around you all tossed your problems into a sack and then you got to take turns drawing new problems, you would pray that you got your own back.
Sometimes our personal struggles seem unbearable. The thought has often crossed my mind "if they only knew what I was dealing with" but most people carry more pain, worry, fear than we realize. While we are taught not to judge a book by a boring cover...the same goes for people. Just because someone doesn't appear to be struggling today doesn't mean that they are not hanging onto their happiness by a tiny thread.
While we need to nurture ourselves...remembering to cut ourselves slack when needed...we also have to do our best not to judge those around us. Until you have seen your neighbor pull his problems out of his pocket and drop them into the sack...don't assume you understand his struggles. Think about this...in that sack could be death of a newlywed, the loss during natural disasters, childhood cancer, a tragic fire. So before you wish your life was different...think about how different it could be if you didn't have your best friend, if you lost a child, or if you didn't have a place to call home. Keep your problems, they are yours and if you knew how much bigger they could be you wouldn't want to trade them.