Time to change our thinking
Friday, April 26, 2013
Pain is pain and ours is not greater than or less than anybody else's pain and deserves to be acknowledged just as much.
Yes, every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own and yes when we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or those who have lost their homes and livelihoods to natural disasters,ours seem far less significant. We may feel that we don’t have a right to be upset because at least we have clothes on our back, food on the table and a roof over our heads.
Time to change our thinking because while we are aware of the pain of others in the world we should also keep our own struggles in perspective. It is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Why? Disparaging our feelings as being less important than other people's emotions can actually lead to denial and repression. Over time, an unwillingness to experience our own feelings leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. And do they know your feeling this because of them? No, tey have no idea at all. And who does it help? In fact it ends up being just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others.
Instead, fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings. Feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, and fear are universal, and, in that sense, all feelings are created equal. Regardless of what leads us to feel the way we do, our comprehension of what it means to be human is deepened by our own experiences. Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity. We honor and value the human condition when we fully inhabit our bodies so we can experience and feel life fully. Accepting our emotions and allowing ourselves to feel them connects us to all human beings. Then, when we hear the stories of other people’s suffering, our hearts can resonate with understanding and compassion—for all of us.