Are We Afraid of Others’ Pain?
In the past few weeks, I’ve taken a minor break from writing blogs while my children enjoyed the end of summer, my littlest cut some teeth and my sleep was ever elusive, but I’m ready to begin this journey again.
In the weeks that have been my word sabbatical, a few things have happened and I’ve found myself contemplating both the direction of my writing on this blog as well as the reactions and influences that drive people’s opinions and actions. I feel refreshed, inspired and ready to run head first into some of these topics with you.
I’m starting off with a 3-Part post, so hold on people…and hang in there with me for a few posts while I distill my thoughts down.
This 3-part post was inspired by some feedback on The Storytellers’ Throne. It was coupled with a curiosity and ultimately a new understanding of who I am, what I offer and how I can be my most authentic self on the page. That being said, I’m going to touch on some uncomfortable shit. I don’t imagine all of this will be easy for me to write, nor easy for y’all to read. I want to be honest and reflective and challenge some ideas and practices that I believe we as a culture and as a society have become way too comfortable with.
The feedback I’m speaking of came from a person who read about 15% of my book and put it down due to the nature of Grace’s backstory in The Storyteller’s Throne and the history of sexual abuse she endured as a young child. The feedback got me thinking about what is at the very core of the book itself:
This idea that we have to allow for the heart and allow for our feelings. That we cannot hide from our scars, our past, our pain, and the points at which we intersect with others’ pain.
So, I shall call this first part …
Part 1: Are we Afraid of Others’ Pain?
It’s a good question I’m opening up with it … think about it. Think about your own interaction, your own reactions, the interactions you see on a daily basis both online and in person.
Are we afraid of others’ pain?
I can only speak from my own experiences and my experience as a therapist for others. I take it all in and churn it through my lens allowing my heart to speak to it as I move forward.
Let me explain …
I believe that at the insection of pain and how we become introduced to it, the place where we connect and understand each other’s scars, the moment where we stand in empathy with someone else, is a place of profound healing. Profound healing for ourselves, others and our community. I believe that at this place is where our true humanness is realized.
When I say the place of empathy, I mean without judgment and without agenda … I feel like there are so many people that have an agenda in connecting with others and that isn’t empathy. That’s a whole other conversation. That is more predatory than anything else if you ask me.
But these moments of true empathy exist. All the time. Whether we grasp them and understand them or just allow them to happen. They exist and healing takes place whether we know it or not.
They are the elixir, the tonic, the medicine.
They are the roadmap.
They are the Love actualizing in a present moment.
Does that make sense?
I truly believe:
- If we could, daily, place ourselves in the way of empathy and authentic Love in a non-judgemental, non-agenda kind of way
- If we seek out the true interconnectedness and sat in its crosshairs
- If we allowed ourselves to be moved by the experience of others that may not always be comfortable
- If we opened up the conversations and invited the details of pain into the story
- If we could find and seek out the places of the intersection even with those we don’t like or agree with …
The possibilities for healing would be ridiculous!
My vibe these days gets crotchety as I watch people destroy others for their opinions, their experiences, their choices, their cry for help or their call for some feedback. There are so many people that sit behind their computer and with whatever agenda it be, break people down as a means of getting their agenda met, instead of helping lift people up and connecting with them.
It’s an epidemic …and it’s spreading!
I’m not saying you have to agree with everyone, or support their choices, and you don’t have to even accept what they stand for … But I think the humanness gets lost sometimes.
Maybe it’s all for our own protection – we see the comments, find the story that fits in the box that we are comfortable with and choose to run with that.
It takes courage and strength and well … balls … to actively connect, especially with someone with whom we may be appalled by their choices, their lifestyle, their worst moments.
And to be honest, it’s hard to connect online … things are taken out of context, people seek out narcissistic means of approval and, if you really think about it, agendas can be important and have their place in getting a movement started.
BUT … I say it’s an epidemic because judgment has overtaken our ability to connect with others.
But where does the judgment come from?
I believe it comes from Fear. Fear of the connection, Fear of where we might intersect with someone, Fear of opening up our own ‘can of worms’
Fear of the pain of others.
There are lots of ways this happens … not just online. Think about how many times as parents we say ‘you’re okay’ when a child is hurt, how many times as adults we shoot someone down because they made a different choice than us, but what drives our response to them is our own Lack. Think about how many people are put on medication for the feelings they have when it stems from a trauma their heart is trying to mend. Think about how many times you pass over a TW (trigger warning) in a post to avoid the feelings it might bring up … Think about how many times you avoid the conversation that could open up the truth with someone. I could go on … but I’m going to leave you with the question … Until Part 2 …
Are we afraid of the pain of Others? And is it ultimately fear of our own pain?
Let me know in the comments. And please try to practice empathy if you choose to respond to someone else’s comment!