I admit it. I’m a hopeless romantic. There’s been plenty of times that I’ve followed acquaintances on social media and “liked” all the mushy gushy tributes to their new significant other. The declarations of love and unending devotion and professional pictures have warmed my heart. But then there’s a change. All of a sudden one or both people start posting self-empowerment posts and about leaving when you’re not being appreciated. Then slowly but surely pictures start to be deleted or taken down. Married names go back to maiden names and this is usually followed by a social media break. While it’s certainly none of my business, I feel like asking “what happened?” These individuals put their whole lives online and got people emotionally invested in their relationship. I feel to some extent that they owe us an explanation when it fails. Of course I understand the right to privacy and how emotions can be involved but it would be nice to see the same level of transparency as there was in the beginning when they were in love. I think there’s a feeling of failure that is attached to the demise of a relationship. No one wants to talk about stuff like that. I know I don’t and my relationship ended months ago–but that’s another post. But it’s disappointing when you see a seemingly good relationship bite the dust. Of course you can only see what people post and I think many times the fairy tale is faker then we would like to think.
One of the things that I appreciate about social work is that there is an abundance of things to do. You aren’t required to stay doing the same thing for decades at a time. There’s room to try something different and learn a completely new set of skills while still working in the field. One thing I’ve noticed is that while people are all different, they share a lot of commonalities as well. There’s a video that went viral recently where a lady was recounting her experience at a popular store. She observed a customer being nasty to a cashier that appeared flustered and to be having a bad day. After confronting the customer, the cashier shared that he had had a very recent tragic loss and was struggling to pay rent. The lesson from the story is that you never know what someone is going through so be kind to everyone. The holidays can bring up so many emotions for people as they remember loved ones they miss and re-hash old wounds with family members. It’s a time that many people are especially fragile and as someone who has worked in mental health, I’ve noticed there’s a increase in suicide attempts after major holidays. This isn’t an appeal for world peace (as much as we need it). Just a reminder to try to be a bit more patient and kind as you interact with people. You don’t know their stories.