I grew up in a family where, whenever I would be upset or cry over something, I was told “Oh stop it. There’s worse in the world than you.” I’m sure it was meant to toughen me up, make me strong. All is did was make me bury those tears and learn that my pain, my hurt was not important. Therefore, I was not important.
Everyday we cross paths with people who are hurting over something. Often we make judgements about their pain. We compare our pain to theirs. Or we compare their pain to the pain of others. Perhaps some of this may sound familiar.
“Why is she so upset about her job. At least she has one. I’ve been out of work a year.”
“He still crys over his mother’s death. It’s been years. He needs to get over it. I lost my Dad last year and I’ve moved on. He should too.”
“I’m sorry she lost her breast. But she’s alive isn’t she? My sister isn’t.”
“It’s true, he had that cat for years. I understand how much he loved it but it’s not like he lost a child or anything. My friend’s son died in an accident a fews years ago and she still grieves. I can understand that. But a cat?”
I admit I’ve said or thought similar things and I deeply regret those words. I also admit that I’m a bit sensetive to comments like that right now. I’ve just lost a dearly loved dog and I know that, even though people are sympathetic to my sadness now, at some point, most will decide I’ve grieved enough.
No one can know the depths of another’s pain. We are on a slippery slope when we begin to decide who is worthy of our sympathy and compassion and who isn’t. It is not important why the pain is there or even who is experiencing the pain. If we truly wish to be our highest and best self, we must simply see another soul that is hurting and respond with love and compassion, not judgement.
We all come from the same source. We are all made of the same light and love. We are all worthy.