Compassion literally means “to suffer together.”
We can all feel alone sometimes. We can feel that we are the only ones that are messing up. That everyone else has got it together. That no one could understand what this pain is like… but is that really the case? Are we alone in these thoughts? Are we the only ones thinking like this?
You are not alone
There is one thing that can unite us all… and that is, suffering. The word Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” All this suffering comes from the same place. The ancient brain neurology that kept our ancestors alive. This is what is causing pain in you, me, your neighbour, your friend and all the people on social media who seem to have it all sorted out... (yes even they are suffering at times)
It does seem like an odd comfort to draw upon until you think of it like this. Our brain was designed to keep us alive, to remember things that could potentially harm us, so in future we could avoid them and stay alive... How kind of us.
Imagine, while walking one day our ancient ancestors came across a boulder. That boulder happened to have a tiger behind it. Fight or flight was triggered, they ran.. they managed to somehow, escape and return back to their cave alive. You can bet the brain would make sure they fear boulders in future, and just incase they have any tigers behind them, trigger fight or flight before you find out! It wants to protect you...
Now, most of us are lucky enough to not have boulders with tigers behind them to fear… our boulders often take a different form… feelings of not being good enough.. societal pressures… media pressures… whatever your burden, whatever makes your brain feel threatened.
For example, it is all too easy to feel down when we scroll through the endless waves of “perfect” looking relationships, bodies, experiences, homes etc.. that clog up our feeds on social media. This is just a snap shot of a moment in time. We need to define our own versions of happiness and success and try to resit the urge to judge our lives on these snap shot moments of many other peoples lives in comparison to our own one life.
Yes the thoughts may come in.. whatever your story, but this is where we need to offer compassion to ourselves. Of course we are going to feel this way, our brain wants to keep us safe. Thank you brain. Now how can I take action despite these feelings toward the person I want to be?
When you feel alone, be sure to know that you are connected. We are all connected, we are all suffering in someway big or small, have compassion for your fellow humans and for yourself. Check in with what really matters to you, and get perspective on your ‘threats’ are they a Tiger? A boulder? Or is it your brain just trying to protect you?