Imagine how different the world would be if we began every personal interaction with compassionate energy.

Take a good look at this picture of Chadwick Boseman. Can you tell that he’s suffering? Does he look like someone that’s fighting for their life? The death of Chadwick teaches us one very important lesson: you never really know what someone is going through. I’ve been processing the meaning of his life and death since I first heard the news late Friday evening. It has shaken me to my core and has caused me to re-evaluate aspects of my own life.

When you first come face to face with a person, you immediately begin processing their physical appearance. You take note of what they’re wearing, how they carry themselves, what their body language conveys, and what their facial expression suggests. However, when you confront a person, you are often unaware of the burdens they are carrying.

Many people are masters at masking their burdens. I’m one of those people. All my life I’ve been told that it is really difficult to know when I’m going through a tough time. My energy is relatively the same whenever you cross my path. I don’t give off any physical cues of struggle. I’m always sporting a very composed, confident disposition, and either wearing a smile or a look of deep thought and reflection. I could be going through the worst experience in life, and if you were standing next to me, you’d be oblivious to my internal struggle. I’d engage with you in a very genuine manner, showing concern for you and what you may be experiencing.

I’ve been through some significant struggles in my life and my journey was made easier by the many people that chose to understand the depths of my pain and embrace a compassionate response toward their interactions with me. Because of this, I choose to interact with everyone from a place of compassion. We are all suffering in one way or another, and I try my best to spread love and joy through my interactions with others.

It is paramount that our walk through this life is one filled with compassion for one another. Life itself can be an unbearable journey at any given point and time. We’ve all experienced things that have brought us to our knees. Imagine how different the world would be if we began every personal interaction with compassionate energy.

Much of the discussion around Chadwick’s death has been centered on the secret he carried all these years. Enduring a cancer diagnosis and treatment while bringing heroic figures to life on the movie screen. I’m certain those that crossed paths with him over the years are replaying those interactions in their minds. Some of them are wondering could they have been more compassionate toward him. If they knew about his struggles, maybe they would have treated him differently.

We have the opportunity to live this way now. Starting today, I humbly ask that you take a vow to live a life where you embrace a compassion-first mentality. Be slower to judge and quicker to extend grace to those around you. Every single one of us is at war with something. We are all engaged in a battle, be it internally or externally. Do you really need to know that a person is suffering before you decide to engage with them in a compassionate way? Absolutely not!

Here’s to hoping that the world evolves in a way where we all able to better empathize with our fellow (wo)man. Assume that everyone around you is carrying an invisible burden just like Chadwick was. Ultimately, we are all superheroes wearing a mask that hides the truth about who we really are. #WakandaForever

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