I don’t think we stop to realize how many people among us every day (virtually for now) are walking wounded – meaning they’re dealing with something they don’t talk about that affects them to the core.

But they act like they have it all together. Because they have to. Sometimes they post positive things on social media. They get promoted. They go to work and slay the dragons. They have to be “on” for clients and colleagues. Been there did that.

Maybe it’s an illness. A failure they can’t get past. A death in the family. A friendship ending. A divorce. Infertility. Problems with kids. Financial issues. A bad boss. Stress related to caring for elderly parents. Covid-related anxiety.

Just because you can’t see someone’s wounds doesn’t mean they don’t have them. In fact the wounds on the inside can be much more serious.

What do we do about this?

We can start by cutting each other more slack. And giving ourselves and others more grace.

Assume good intent with everyone unless proven otherwise. And even then, don’t take someone snapping at you or a short email so personally. Oftentimes it has nothing to do with you.

While so many of us are walking around wounded, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because our life experiences help shape us into who we are today.

We can still be happy, we can still laugh, we can still have great experiences with our family and our friends, but we all carry around trauma and things that have happened to us that unfortunately we can’t get rid of because they’re emblazoned in our minds.

Sometimes I wish I could erase parts of my memory – my mom passing away from a long battle with cancer. My significant other brutally and abruptly leaving me and dating one of our mutual acquaintances immediately afterwards. Losing friends because they were mean girls. Leaving a job that was unsupportive. People who disappointed me. But I can’t. And every experience has helped shape me into who I am today – stronger, wiser, kinder and more resilient.

Do you know what hasn’t changed about me in spite of all of the wounds I have? My ability to see the good in others. My ability to keep going no matter how hard things are. And I know you can do it too.

Be kinder to yourself and others. Especially right now when people are at a heightened state of vulnerability.

Treat everyone with kindness and don’t take things personally because you never know what someone is dealing with.