"Most people live with a great deal more suffering than is visible to even the most proximate and sensitive onlooker."
So began an article I read recently and in some strange way, I found it very comforting.Not, of course, that people are suffering, but rather the reminder that suffering is something very human that we all, to lesser or greater degrees, share.
Sometimes I can find myself wondering if i'm the only one struggling. If i'm the only one who feels unhappy, out of place and constantly overwhelmed with everything going on around me. Everyone around me seems so happy. So at ease. Why can't i just be like them? Reading the opening reminded me that I really have no clue what was going on in the life of the person smiling on the tube I sat next to this morning or the man sitting peacefully in the park I walked past this weekend. I really have no clue what they've been through or what they're going through.
Most of us hide our hurt as something shameful that would best be forgotten. We rarely seek to really understand what's going on for the people around us. We shy away from asking, afraid that it'll force us to have to do something about it, or to protect others from embarrassment or having to talk about something difficult. Imagine how liberating it would be if instead of hiding our troubles we wore them like badges of achievement? If instead of doing our best to avoid talking about them we could share them with our friends and loved ones? How comforting it would be to know that we aren't the only ones struggling.
Markus is the founder of Feelmo and a therapist-in-training. You can read more of his writing on www.markusahlberg.com.