I was talking to a dear friend recently and she reminded me of a conversation we had years ago after I had returned from one of my silent retreats. She remembered asking me what I got out of the experience. My response: Everyone suffers. I know that sounds harsh but it’s so true!
I realized then—and still do—that we all suffer to some degree. Everyone is going through something. It’s important to remember that although you may never know the difficulties in someone else’s life (which is why empathy is essential!), you are not alone in whatever you may be dealing with.
There is a positive to all this however: The hardest things we have to endure in our lives often give us the strength to move on. You may initially feel overwhelmed and seek solace (in other people, popular theories, a bottle of wine...) to numb the pain. Sometimes nothing will take the hurt or anger away when something horrible happens. But if you stop for a moment and allow yourself to look at the situation and appreciate what you’ve gone through and that you’re still standing—and know that EVERYONE suffers—you may feel a little bit better.
Technique of the week: When you find yourself overwhelmed—or judging someone else who is—stop and remind yourself that we all suffer. Keeping this in mind will help you feel less alone, more connected to other people, calmer, and even more resilient in the face of life’s challenges!