My kids were out of school yesterday so my friend Toni came over to have breakfast with us. We sat with our eggs and toast, catching up and laughing. When the boys went outside to play, we got a chance to go below the surface to talk about how things are really going. We talked about life, work, houses, dreams, hopes and blogging.
I noticed while we were talking that my tendency was to hold back.
I could feel myself not wanting to share my “struggles” with Toni. It’s because hers seemed so much more real. Mine seemed like “first world problems” in comparison. You’ve been there, I’m sure. We all have.
What’s crazy is that while we were talking, she asked me if I’d read Rising Strong by Brené Brown. I haven’t and we both agreed we should read it. So last night, I got it with a free credit on Audible (yay! for free credits!) and got busy listening before I fell asleep.
These words pierced my heart:
“Even pain and hurt are not immune to being assessed and ranked.
My husband died and that grief is worse than your grief over an empty nest.
I’m not allowed to feel disappointed about being passed over for promotion when my friend just found out that his wife has cancer.
You’re feeling shame for forgetting your son’s school play? Please— that’s a first-world problem; there are people dying of starvation every minute.
Empathy is not finite, and compassion is not a pizza with eight slices.
When you practice empathy and compassion with someone, there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world. The refugee in Syria doesn’t benefit more if you conserve your kindness only for her and withhold it from your neighbor who’s going through a divorce.
Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results affects all of us.”
Did you catch that? It’s worth repeating.
Every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results, affects all of us.
Your pain is valid, my pain is valid, and the sister we don’t know yet, her pain is valid. When we honor that by showing up with love for ourselves and each other, it affects everyone. Notice she didn’t say, wallow in it, drown in it, focus only on your pain. Nope, she said honor that it’s valid.
Notice it’s there and love yourself through it.
Your husband, your kids, your friends, your coworkers . . . we all need you to honor your own struggles.
Show yourself some empathy and compassion today.
I will too.
The healing we’ll find affects us all.
to more love,