The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do. -Anonymous
Is this true? I think about all the different types of life experiences that can make people bitter, that can hurt, that can transform you. Although I’m struggling with my own dilemma (how to be a single childless woman in her 30s), my aunt reminded me of the many ways that life can be challenging. She is in her late 50s, and cannot find a job. My sister is married to someone who a lot of the time is unhelpful and mean. To use the Christian metaphor, each person has their own cross to bear.
The first part of the above quote resonates the deepest. Lonely people do tend to be kind, in part because they have extra time and energy to offer to the world. I’m sure many woman without children can remember the sting of being excluded by a former friend who is too happily involved in her family to pay any attention, while the older woman who lives by herself is likely to offer kindness.
I’m not as sure about the universality of the “saddest” part. I know in my sadness, I often became a taker of happiness, not a giver. I’d like to repay that debt someday. For some of my friends, I may even have to leave the friendship, because they so expect me to be sad sometimes that they don’t accept when I am happy. It’s hard to be around people who only remember you sad, and no longer know how to relate when you regain some cheer.