*Sigh.* So, I really wanted to like the new Netflix movie Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. It looked so endearing and starred Barb from Stranger Things and the loveable guy from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. By all accounts, it should have been amazing, but about halfway through the film, I had to turn it off due to my rising anxiety levels, second-hand embarrassment, and pure horror that one of the scenes included a character being misled about whom he was kissing with his eyes shut. (Consent, guys. Consent.)
One of my initial issues with the movie was that the stereotypical mean popular girl was over-the-top cruel to her classmates—she was the type of cruel that had me thinking, “Did these screenwriters ever attend high school or just watch movies about it?”
Thankfully, the screenwriters did explain the character’s behavior with a fleshed-out background featuring a hectic home life and pressures from her mother to be perfect.
It’s an important lesson that, though it seems to be pounded in our heads incessantly in film and books, I tend to easily forget: You never know what others are going through.
I can be a am a judgmental person. I’m trying to be better, but more often than naught, I let my thoughts get away from me, so these next few paragraphs are as much for me as they are for anyone reading this.
Once again, you never know what someone else is going through. That person who cut you off on the freeway might be rushing home in the midst of a family emergency. That person at work who put you down in front of your boss might be dealing with job insecurity. Your friend who made a snide comment about your outfit might be feeling left out.
We should, of course, stand up for ourselves, but instead of responding in anger or defensiveness, take a moment to think about what the offender may have going on his or her life.
Sometimes things we take offense to may not even be intended to be taken as an insult.
I’ll never forget, one time in junior high, my friend pulled up her hooded jacket in a really cute way, and I said something like, “Aw! You look just like a little mouse peeking out of a hole!”
She got really upset, and our friends who witnessed it all asked me why I would say that.
While I looked like the biggest jerk in the world, I had only made that statement because my father had said it to me a few days earlier, and I had thought it was really sweet. When he said it, it had come off extremely endearing. Obviously, it had not come off that way when I repeated it.
And there’s the kicker: Not only should we be mindful of what offenders may be going through, but we should also be mindful of what anyone we are around may be going through. Something we say without thinking could be harmless to us but could scar the person we’re speaking to for life.
We’re all bound to make mistakes in this department, but be mindful, be caring, be understanding, and, above all, be quick to forgive.
God knows I’ve certainly cut off my fair share of people on the freeway, hurt people’s feelings, and just been a downright unpleasant human being.
The least I can do is extend the same grace that I hope others are giving me.