“Our stories are all we have. The only thing that can save us is to learn each other’s stories. From beginning to end…For every life we know, we are expanded. -Karen Fisher
It never ceases to amaze me how little we know about the world around us. And I am not talking about the beauty and mystery that makes up the nature. I am talking about the beauty and mystery that makes up the human population.
We walk about our days, stuck in a never-ending, never-changing cycle. We live within a confined bubble where we are at the center. But just for one second STOP. This may be on your daily commute to work, your weekly trip to the grocery store, or maybe your morning run. Wherever you may find yourself, stop for a single moment and look around. Look at the man sitting across from you on the subway. Look at the mom maneuvering through the aisles with three kids. Look at the elderly man sitting alone on the park bench. Stop and look at them. Look at the middle-aged man who everyone avoids on the subway. Look at the single mom who is struggling to keep control of her children. Look at the elderly man whose face holds insurmountable grief.
And before you have the opportunity to pass judgment upon them, ask yourself, “what is going on in their life?” or “what is their story?” I can promise you that this may change the way you look at others. This may even change the way you look at the world.
There is so much we do not know about the lives of others, whether they be our next door neighbor or a stranger from across the globe. And though it sometimes overwhelms me, it also excites me.
Endless opportunity awaits us. Endless stories await us. You can never predict what is going on in someone else’s life. So do not be quick to judge. Instead, ask yourself “what is that person’s story?” Or even better, go up to the person and start a conversation. You may hear a story greater than any held within the bindings of a book.
The Humans of New York interviews are a perfect example of what can happen when an ordinary person is asked about “their story.” Each interview is raw. Each interview moves my heart with its utter realness. And I will be the first to admit that I tear up after reading each person’s story. THEY ARE JUST SO STINKING AMAZING!
So now I will ask you, “what is your story?” What is going on in your life that has made you who you are today. And I ask you to do the same. Try just one day looking at those around you and asking this simple question.
Thank you for reading and I would love for you to leave your story in the comments 🙂