|Posted on March 7, 2016 at 8:35 AM|
We've all been there, wanting to share a story with someone about how difficult our day was. We want someone to listen--really listen--and hear how aggravating or upsetting it was when we encountered a careless driver or a hateful waitress, or that our child is been sick, or that we’ve been struggling with a bad headache for days. We're expecting empathy or compassion or a kind word. But often, what we get instead, can only be described as one upmanship. They didn't just encounter a bad driver they had an accident, their waitress wasn't just hateful she was horrid, their child nearly had to be hospitalized, and of course their headache, a migraine. Maybe what they want to convey is that they understand, but what they are really doing is high jacking our moment to be heard. They are unable or unwilling to just listen and validate without inserting their own story, their own ego. Harsh but true. Perhaps it is the subjective view of our own pain that encourages us to see our situation worse than other peoples. Perhaps it is our competitive nature. Perhaps we are not good listeners. But whatever it is, we have all done this to someone.
As humans, we have a propensity for believing we are the only ones to have a particular experience, and/or to suffer to such an extreme--especially with matters of the heart. “You can’t imagine…” or “I can’t explain how badly…” or “No one really knows how hard…” I have experienced this with so many clients who honestly feel they are the only one who has gone through their experience. And of course, it can be easy to feel this way, particularly when one is experiencing shame, regret, embarrassment, depression or bereavement. Seeing reality this way can also feed our egos and suppress our capacity for compassion and empathy. It is difficult to feel for others when we have the market cornered on suffering, or are playing the martyr. And I say this completely owning that I have been in this situation in the past. Again, we all have.
And the thing is, that viewing our pain as unique or extreme in comparison to others, is both isolating and frightening. It intensifies whatever we are going through, disconnects us from others, and diminishes our ability to receive comfort, all the while compromising our desire and capability to reach out and comfort others. It is a lose lose situation for all of us. So what if we could shift our thoughts a bit? Right smack dab in the middle of our pain. In the moment of sobbing or imagining the worst, or complete hopeless, what if we could shift in the eye of the storm? What if we took a deep breath and thought of all the people in the world who were also, in this very moment, experiencing great pain. Grieving the loss of a precious loved one. Worried about the possibility of losing a job or a house. Struggling in an impossible relationship. And what if we were able to think of them with a softness and a compassion, and to send them love and healing thoughts? What if we just breathed into knowing we are not alone. Ever.
We are, whether we recognize it or not, a collective consciousness. We are connected. We come from the same Source. We are, paradoxically, unthinkably unique and we are the exactly the same. We are all beloved and valuable to the exact same extent. Our brain waves are electrical currents that communicate with each other on a level we cannot comprehend, and how we think counts. How we think about ourselves and each other matters. It matters more than we know. So let’s use some of that amazing brain power to connect instead of isolate, and to unify instead of splinter apart, to heal ourselves and each other. You are a singularly beautiful soul, but we are all having this human experience. You are not in this alone my loves, regardless of what is going on in your life. Not for a second. So let’s take moments during our day, lots of moments, to give thanks for our connectedness, to send love to those in pain--known and unknown, and to always be ready to listen with our lips quiet and our hearts open.