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Recently, I watched an eye-opening documentary on rape in the military, The Invisible War. It told stories that I always assumed happened–from time to time. However, I would have never guessed the severity of the incidences nor the frequency in which they occur. Keep in mind, the only thing they could speak on, were reported incidents; the all encompassing data, would have surely been too much to grasp.

Personally, I cannot put myself in those particular shoes, but what I can do, what we all can do, is be aware that all of us are fighting an invisible war.

Abuse, depression,  loss of a loved one, anxiety, terminal illness, handicaps, poverty, mental disorders, addiction, unemployment, identity crises, sexual indiscretions, learning disabilities, domestic dysfunction, betrayal, low self esteem, abandonment, suicide, murder…one, if not more than one, if not all of these has touched your life and the lives of the people around you. Your family member, your co-worker, your friend, your foe, your neighbor–all of us–are fighting our own version, of an invisible war. Just as I was unaware to the extent that rape occurs in the military, you are unaware of the depths of other’s despair, and even if someone chooses to reveal their’s to you, you likely will not, receive the all encompassing data.

I say this simply to say: be kind. Don’t be rude, snappy, or dismissive to someone you barely know. If the person you’re directing your attitude towards hasn’t revealed their invisible battle to you, then they belong in the “barely know” category as well, even if you’ve known that person all your life. If there’s anything I know for sure, it’s that everyone has some kind monkey, gorilla, lion, or tiger on their back. If you need a little perspective, just think about the things that person doesn’t know about you.

A lot of people give me a hard time for being too nice, too accepting of things; one of my close friends says to me all the time: “stop taking in stray cats”, which always makes me laugh. However it’s not that I have a deliverer complex, it’s just merely in my nature to see a battle wound instead of a flaw, even when that person decides to hurt me. Because I know, after all, only hurt people, hurt people.

So keep this in mind and don’t withhold kindness as some sort of defense mechanism. When you do, you’re only obstructing the flow of kindness into your own life. 

Are you ready to share your invisible war?