I got struck down this week. It started in my chest, and then spread through my sinuses. My nose wouldn’t stop running, I had a constant headache, and I couldn’t get enough sleep. I knew I was REALLY sick when I woke up, stood up, and laid straight back in my bed. I never do that. I pride myself on never taking sick days. When I do, it’s because I’m practically on my deathbed.
Normally, I would push through. I would think about all the things I need to do at work, and all the people I would let down by not making it in. I’d think about how far behind I’d be by taking a day, and how overwhelmed I’d feel trying to catch up on everything when I get back again.
But not this week. Nope. This week, I couldn’t care less. I was going back to bed.
It got me thinking…. No matter how driven we are to meet our psychological needs, survival really trumps it all. In spite of the fact that I care about the people I work with, and how driven I am to be successful in my job, none of that mattered when I was feeling so sick.
It made me think about those students that get labelled as unmotivated or lazy. Nobody was calling me those names this week, because it was obvious why I was lying around and getting nothing done. But sometimes the struggle for survival is a little more hidden. What about that girl who can’t sleep all night because she’s listening to her parents fight and wondering if someone is going to get hurt? What about that teen who can’t concentrate at school because all they can think about is their baby brother at home, and whether he’s safe today when mom’s been drinking again. Or even that parent who can’t focus on anything else except where she is going to get the money to put something on the table tonight so that her family doesn’t have to go to bed hungry.
Is it possible that those people who appear to not care about other people’s needs or achieving their best work are just like me – so caught up in survival that nothing else matters?
Is it possible that if you knew the hidden story behind that lazy person who is making you crazy, that you might feel more compassion than anger towards them?