I know you've been there.

You know when you’re in a packed elevator going down and just as you think you’re getting to the lobby – it stops at the second floor to pick someone up? Everyone grunts internally, and sometimes people mumble their frustrations out loud.
 
We’re all so quick to assume that this person is lazy for not walking the one flight down – thus holding us up from getting to our destination.
 
I was certainly one of those disgruntled people – huffing and puffing -- wanting to get off the elevator as soon as possible and out into the city of chaos that I call home.
 
It was a few years ago that this completely changed for me.
 
My doctor found a cyst the size of a golf ball residing in my lung and I had to have ¼ of my right lung removed. Part of my recovery post-surgery was that I had to rebuild my lung function. For two weeks, walking around my block once a day was the most that I could possibly do. Getting up or down my two flights of stairs to my apartment was nearly impossible for about a month.
 
I’m a New Yorker who walks basically everywhere, so losing my sense of freedom and ability to walk anywhere was quite devastating.
 
My view of those people that take the elevator one flight has completely shifted.
 
We don’t know what other people are going through. We don’t know their story.
 
From the outside, I may not have looked like I had just had a major surgery. From the outside, we may not be able to see what’s going on inside and what people are living and dealing with.
 
We’re all so quick to judge. We’re quick to make assumptions. 
 
“We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The true problem with making these assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking-we take it personally - then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. That is why whenever we make assumptions, we're asking for problems. We make assumptions, we misunderstand, and end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements.
 
We tend to only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. We have expectations of how things should be.
 
Next time you’re in an elevator with someone going down one flight, or don't get a response to an email as quickly as you would like – pause for a moment and consider the fact that you may not know what they’re personally going through at any given moment.