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8 Things You Should Know About People Who Have Had Difficult Pasts, Yet Barely Ever Talk About Them

Everybody has a past they don’t talk about. Not publicizing difficult (or traumatizing) experiences doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You never know who is carrying a burden, and often, it’s the people you’d least expect. Here are a few things you should know about people who have been through a lot, but don’t usually talk about it.

1. They tend to be the strongest, kindest and most put-together people you know. In the words of Elizabeth Kubler Ross, beautiful people have an appreciation and understanding of life from having found their way out of defeat, suffering and struggle… “beautiful people do not just happen.”

2. If they seem selfish, it’s because they know they must give themselves the love they never received. There’s a fine line between “self care” and “selfish,” but the former is often confused for the latter as we are not taught that to live up to the ideal of “selflessness,” you must, in fact, put your wellbeing first.

3. If they seem harsh, it’s because they wish someone would have told them what they’re telling you. They are the masters and commanders-in-chief of S.S. Tough Love, because they know how crucial and potentially life-changing it can be (and often is).  

4. They have learned to forgive people who aren’t sorry. They have learned that even when issues in your life are not your fault – they are always your problem to deal with.

5. They have learned that sometimes, “refusing to give up” is not the noble thing people make it out to be. We’re taught to “never give up, no matter what,” and in that, we aren’t taught how crucial it is to be able to do just that. To walk away from what isn’t working, to stop trying to do what you’re not meant to do.

6. They aren’t positive because they’re naive or in denial, they’re positive because they know what matters. They value what they went through, and consider it to be an intimate part of their lives – it is not out of shame or embarrassment that they don’t publicize it, but just that they don’t feel the entire world needs to be made aware.

7. They know that treating everyone as though they’ve been through everything you have and then some is basically the only way to relate to the humanity in everyone. Because everybody has a story they don’t tell, a chapter they don’t re-open, a past they feel wholly responsible for not having dealt with just a little bit better.

8. They know that the real battle is with yourself. And they are to be feared more than anybody else, because they have fought and conquered it many times – and they know they can bear even the worst. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

January Nelson

January Nelson

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.