Smile Through The Pain

second year aysha jerald

photo by sofi gratas

photo by sofi gratas

Let’s try something.

I want to you imagine being tired. I want you to feel your feet throbbing from moving all day, your eyes burning from staying open, your armpits perspiring due to the humidity of the air, and your voice hoarse from the repetition of practiced words. I want you to imagine that you are an employee at a part-time job that pays you way too little for doing way too much.

Next, I want you to imagine someone walking up to your desk. Your cash register. Your host stand. You can feel the negative aura radiated from them even before they approach you, for you have experienced this next scene plenty times before. They begin to attack you with questions. Accusations. Insults. Yet, you remain in your stance, with you fingernails pressed into your palms and a calm smile glued to your face. You take each and every one of their blows and ready your hoarse voice with the response, “I apologize” or “I understand” or “It won’t happen again” or “Thank you for your criticism.” As they stomp away, you wish them a blessed day. Despite the problem having nothing to do with you, you smiled through the pain.  

Let’s try something else.

Imagine being hungry. Confused. Stressed out. You sprint your anxious body to the cash register or desk or host stand of some part-time employee, who is too busy on their phone to notice you waiting. Because your mother didn’t raise you to be rude, you wait patiently. When you catch their attention, you hold your breath as they groan and roll their eyes at your presence.

You order your food or ask your question, and their tone is short and irritable. While the employee's severity creeps into your mind and heart, you begin to question your own behavior. Am I annoying? Did I say something rude? Is my RBF showing? Whatever the reasoning, despite being none of the above, the employee has already ruined your mood. Your stress levels rise, you lose your appetite, and/or you spend the rest of the day reminding yourself that everything will be okay. You smile through the pain.

There are a lot of things we don’t share with one another. Our struggles and feelings are two major examples. While we spend our lives convincing ourselves that it’s fine, it never really is. Nobody is fine. Everyone is either going through a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm. That said, as humans, we cannot assume someone is happy that because they are smiling. We have to treat each other as the fragile human beings that we are. Your rude behavior to a stranger or acquaintance may be a small mishap to you but even larger mishap to them. Smile through the pain of keeping your attitude in. By doing so, you may save one person’s day and hopefully, make it a little better.