___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

small acts of kindness

It's well meant. There's no malice in it. None at all.

"You know, sometimes I get tired as well . . ."

Said ever so sympathetically, of course, as if to a suspected simpleton, one who hasn't worked out that simplest of truths, that when you do something – exert yourself – you burn up energy and are going to wind up tired. Maybe even exhausted if you've really done a lot.

"You know?"

With a smile. A sweet smile. And knowing eyes.

Well, yes, actually. Yes, I do know that when you do things it tires you, that other, perfectly healthy people, get tired too. I've figured that much out.

But I don't say as much.

Something else I don't say. I don't say to a blind person, You know, sometimes, when it's dark, I can't see either . . .

Because that's not only tactless, it's cruel. And the people who tell me that they get tired as well are not, in any way, shape, or form, being cruel. Tactless, perhaps, maybe even a little thoughtless. But no, there's no cruelty there.

It begins, as so much seems to begin, with an assumption. And the assumption here is kindness. You look, for the most part, perfectly fine. Perhaps you're a little pale, a little run down. But there's no obvious disadvantage. You're not, if you're one of the lucky ones, in a wheelchair. You're not holding yourself up on sticks or crutches (though I have been there and done that and don't particularly want to do it again). So as a small act of kindness, it's okay to tell you that sometimes they get tired too. Maybe that will sink in, and you'll pull yourself together and stop being so depressingly needy and tired and so all-about-you.

You could take offence. You could feel misunderstood. You could feel patronised.

My advice is not to. Because of where that kindness is coming from. It's well meant. There's no malice in it. None at all.

It is, in fact, a small attempt at someone trying to step into your shoes and walk a mile in them. It's a person extending empathy in your direction.

Unless, of course, it isn't; and it's just someone blundering in thoughtlessly, telling you to get a grip and stop whining.

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