“Everything you’re feeling now, I’ve felt it too. All the things I’m going through, you’ve been there too.”
I’m in one of those moods, you know the mood where you wake up, its a lovely sunny autumn day, and you feel like being productive. Yet, there’s a heaviness within. And it’s not a negative thought that really drags you down, but its a reflective one, where you think to yourself “today feels good for me, but how does it feel for others?”. It was one of those mornings where I woke up thinking more about other people than about myself, which I think is necessary at times.
A lot of the time, when we face problems, we tend to assume we’re all alone because we are all our own person, we are all independent and its natural to be a little egotistic and prioritise oneself. Yet, when we widen our perspective, you find that these emotions that you go through are just part of being human, and that everyone else feels or has felt the same way too.
Happiness, anger and pain (all in incredibly simplified terms) are emotions that every single one of us experiences. What is more, it’s contagious. We laugh and smile when others are happy, we get angry when we see injustice and we get really uncomfortable when we see pain and suffering. And yet, when we say that an emotion is contagious, we really only talk about happiness, you know the famous saying “happiness is contagious”. Yes, it’s true, but what about the other emotions? Personally, I think they are just as contagious, and it is here that we need to tread carefully.
When we see pain, suffering and injustice, we are inclined to turn a blind eye, and be voluntarily ignorant, because we don’t want to feel the same pain or suffering. This is our tendency. The more negative the emotion is that is stirred within us, the more likely we will want to repress it, because those of us who are not suffering do not want to be reminded of the hurt. But, here is the problem. If we consistently turn a blind eye because we don’t want to face the pain, what hope is there to be able to help those who are suffering?
In order to help others relieve their suffering, we need to be in a position to empathise, that is, to put ourselves in their shoes. This can be painful, this can stir unhappy memories, but I think it’s a necessary aspect if you want to help someone. Letting others reach out to you, and similarly, reaching out to others, is not a sign of weakness, nor a sign of great philanthropy, but I think it’s being in touch with the true human nature that is: empathy, cooperation and love. It’s no use to repress negative emotions, because they create us, just as much as the positive emotions. And I would think, that it is these negative emotions that allow us to help, because our natural inclination is to prevent others from feeling how we felt.
What is more, you don’t need to be on top of current affairs to realise that pain and suffering is so real for thousands of people, in so many different ways. They need to know that we care. It can be as close as a friend, a family member, a neighbour who is struggling with something, it can be as far away as people in conflict-ridden countries, people who are seeking refuge. Pain and suffering is not contained to a specific area, to a country, or to certain situations. It is not gender/ethnicity/religion specific. It happens to everyone, everywhere. Yet, people in pain, people who are suffering, I don’t think are given enough voice, or space to be able to openly speak out, and seek help. The more we turn a blind eye, the less help is given. The more we get in touch with our natural emotions, positive and negative, the more help is given. Perhaps, this is a much to simple equation, but at the same time, I think it’s the simplicity that makes it so difficult.
I guess what I am trying to say here, is that we are constantly trying to gain the positive emotions; we are constantly trying to be happy. But negative emotions like sadness, and anger, are not always “negative”. They are part of being human too, and they can help us be grateful, they can help us lend a helping hand, they can connect us with others just as much as happiness can. Which is why, I don’t think they should be repressed.
I don’t want to sound too much like I’m preaching to the choir, but sometimes I feel that I need to remind myself to put myself in a position to feel the pain and suffering so I can openly let other reach out to me, and I thought that I’d take this opportunity to share my thoughts here with you too.
What are your thoughts on this, I would love to know.
Happy weekend everyone. x