You know how your car has a sticker on the side mirror that says "objects are closer than they appear"? This is actually a good reminder for life in general. Things are rarely what they seem.
I just returned home from an advanced screening of the film, "People Like Us" with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from it. However, I was pleasantly surprised and I loved the ending. I don't want to give away the good stuff, but there was one scene where Chris Pine lamented that his dad always sat in the car when he took him to the park as a kid. This story was meant to illustrate the distance in their relationship; how his dad wasn't close to him. Enter the metaphoric car mirror. Objects are closer than they appear. In fact, there was more to the story than Chris' character realized and the situation was much more complicated than he knew. (I really want to tell you more about the park, but I don't want to ruin it for you if you see the film!)
In any case, after I left the movie theater I started to ponder how quickly we all jump to conclusions about people. Stan is cranky in the mornings at work, so he's a jerk. Sarah always declines your lunch invitation, so she must be stuck up. But, is there, perhaps, more to the story?
What if Stan is cranky in the morning because he's up every night taking care of his invalid wife, whom he loves deeply? What is Sarah turns down your lunch invitations because all her spare money goes to pay for therapy for her troubled son? Hmm. Stan's not such a bad guy and Sarah's not a snob anymore, are they?
Whether it be in the workplace or in our personal lives, we all form opinions based on very few facts. That's something I would love to see change. They say you don't know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes. And, that is so true. We all have our baggage, challenges, and obstacles. Some openly share the drama of their everyday lives and others live lives of quiet desperation.
The next time you're quick to gossip at the water cooler in the break room or to form an uncomplimentary opinion about someone, stop and think. Do you really know the whole story? And, is the whole story even your business? Things are frequently not what they seem--and objects may be closer than they appear.