I thought I was suffering alone. As I sprinted up the 6% grade hill in Zwift’s London Classique with another four laps to go, I wanted to quit. It was a silly Zwift race that would mean nothing afterward. I joined the event to support my Zwift racing team, Revolution Velo Racing. It’d be a good workout, I thought.
My legs screamed.
Just as I was about to fall back, I saw two of my teammates pull up next to me. They forged ahead which encouraged me to do the same.
Lap after lap, my legs burned up the punchy hill. The pace never settled and I couldn’t help but think that I was suffering alone. Then I remembered I wasn’t unique. I couldn’t be the only one of these racers who wished for a power outage or an easier pace.
After the race, our B group reminisced in a group chat about the hill that almost pushed us all to quit. I realized while I was suffering by myself in my room, I wasn’t the only one in pain. Thousands of miles away, my teammates wanted to give up but they saw me powering up the hill which encouraged them to continue.
None of us knew the power of our presence.
Everyone in this world suffers. From a multitude of things: depression, anxiety, illness, stress, personal and professional relationships, athletics, school, what have you.
The cyclist who beat you is suffering.
The asshole boss is suffering.
The person who cut you off on the highway is suffering.
The jerk who continually harasses you is suffering.
Your family members are suffering.
Your friends are suffering.
We sometimes believe we’re suffering alone and it is easy to feel like that when being real can be too much for some people. And those that can’t handle you bearing yourself to them aren’t your people.
If you do anything today, make it this: remember that everyone’s fighting some internal battle. Before you throw judgment or act like an ugly human being, think about what it’s like in their shoes. Imagine what they may be going through in their life. Be kind. Be understanding. And don’t be an asshole.