It’s cold here today. I mean, like, really cold. The high temperature is not even expected to get out of the 20s, and I can only imagine what the wind chill is right now. Of course, right now anyone reading this is the northern United States or some foreign country with a chillier climate is laughing in the face of what I just said there. “You call that cold?” I can hear them scoff. “Wuss.”

Even here, though, in the Bluegrass State, you’ll find a pretty wide range when it comes to how people can tolerate cold temperatures. I know, for example, that I will inevitably see someone wearing a pair of shorts today, maybe even flip-flops as well. I, on the other hand, am layered up double, dreading the thought of venturing outside again in a few minutes. Maybe it’s because I’m skinny. Or maybe it’s because my blood is getting thinner as I get older. Or, possibly, I really am a big wuss.

Whatever the case may be, I cannot handle the cold as well as some other people can. In the same vein, I’ve noticed there are certain emotions I do not handle as well as others. For instance, when I get depressed, I get really depressed. I think a lot of people experience this. What might totally break down one person might not even phase another. What most of us lack, unfortunately, is the empathy necessary to understand this.

I will admit, my first thought when I see someone wearing a pair of shorts on a day of sub-freezing temperatures is, “Idiot, put some pants on.” I might think the person is trying to show off or prove how tough they are. It rarely crosses my mind that the person just might not be cold. As incomprehensible as this idea is to me, it is entirely possible. That person may be looking at me, though, wondering why I’m all bundled up like an Eskimo on the icy tundra.

If someone seems sad for no good reason, we have a tendency to want to minimize what they are going through. It’s not so much that we don’t understand what the person is going through; sometimes it’s just that we don’t even try. If you’re sad, do something to make yourself happy. Think of all the good things in life. In essence, just put some pants on, idiot. See what I’m saying? We think we all have the same tolerance for life, and sometimes that just is not true.

In the same way I need extra layers today, I need some emotional help sometimes. What bounces off of you may hit me like a ton of bricks, and what would totally devastate you might not affect me at all. Just like dealing with the weather, coping with life is an inescapable fact. As much as I don’t want to go outside right now, I know I’m going to have to eventually. Sorrows will come, stressors will flare up, depression will creep in through the cracks. There’s no shame in needing a heavy coat when the emotions run cold.

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