Do you believe in feeling other people's pain because there are a hell of a lot of hurting people out there.
People who have lost their soul mate of 30 years, like me. War torn families, famine, then there’s all the muggings, burglary. So many people are not happy, they are damaged and hurting and ill-treated etc.
How do you account these things? I can't just close my eyes to someone else's suffering, it's selfish and insensitive.
You’re right, there is so much suffering in the world, so much misery and confusion. People are hurting and ill-treated and unhappy.
How can you help?
Especially when it’s someone close to you, your kids, your partner, your family - you want to help, and if you could take the pain away from them, you would, right?
You want to DO something - and so there’s a tendency to feel someone’s pain as if it was your own, because it feels like helping. Then there’s that commonly held belief that not feeling means you’re closing your eyes to their suffering. It’s selfish not to, correct?
But how does this help them?
How does you being miserable as well assist them?
I’m not talking about not acknowledging and being sensitive to someone’s pain, I’m not talking about not doing what you can to help them out - but throwing yourself in the pit with them is not useful, to either of you, AT ALL.
What they need is for you to be standing on solid ground. At peace, calm, clear, with your sense of humour about you. You then become their anchor in the middle of the chaos.
When all their certainty and stability is gone, when it’s all been thrown up in the air, you act as their rudder, their point of reference, their lighthouse in the dark.
So no need to suffer. They need you to not suffer - they need you solid and dependable, not dramatic and wobbly.
Best thing you can do for anyone - and the least known, the most uncommon.
Suffering is not required for you to help anyone. In fact it doesn’t help anyone, ever, at all.
When you get on a plane, they always say to put your own oxygen mask on first, then help others.
It’s true in any part of life - and here’s the best oxygen you can get, and it's free: