To talk with him, you’d have no idea of all he has been going through. The smile and the usual jovial confidence in his voice did a wonderful job of covering the pain and emptiness.
But the pain was quite real, always simmering just below the surface, out of sight but never out of his mind.
Sometimes life just isn’t easy. It’s a feeling we’ve all known at some point, perhaps even right now. Sometimes life is confusing, overwhelming, uncertain, empty. What compounds the hurt is the human tendency to keep our emotional pain a secret. We’ve been societally conditioned to believe an admission of emotional difficulty is a sign of weakness. So we keep it all inside, festering, doing all we can to manage the pain, constructing facades of happiness and stability for all to see, afraid of the shameful truth we feel we need to hide from the world.
At times, the opposite is true. Some have courageously opened their deepest self and shared their pain with others, sending out a clear message of their emotional distress, hoping for a lifeline of love and understanding which never comes.
Human pain is universal and is woefully quite abundant, even if the vast majority remains hidden just below the surface. And while we will never fully understand the pain of others, there is always something we can do to help in their time of hurt.
Empathy doesn’t require you to have all the answers or the solutions to another’s problems. Sometimes there simply are no answers. Empathy only requires you to show up. To be there. To listen. To hug. To cry. To remind an injured soul they aren’t alone.
There is no greater gift we can give to others than our empathetic compassion.
Compassion is love in action. And right now someone somewhere could use your love.
Listen attentively to those whom you interact with. Do you get a sense when they tell you they are doing “OK” that they aren’t really doing “OK” at all? Is there a story they are subtly trying to tell? Pain often leaves clues, and those in pain are hoping someone will decipher the secret code they are sending out to the world. Your compassion and empathy have the power to change their life!
Ultimately you never know what the person next to you may be going through. Some will never offer any clues of their emotional distress. Humanity, though, doesn’t need my indifference; humanity needs the loving, compassionate, non-judgmental, empathetic version of me to show up no matter whom I am interacting with.
Yes, life is hard, and it’s unbearably difficult when all you feel in life is alone.
Let’s try to remind others they never actually are.
It’s a great day to be you!