Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Didn't Purchase My Pain; Don't Sell Me Your Guilt (Read Time: 2 min.)

How often do you find yourself feeling guilty for something you didn't even do?

Why do some people feel bad for being happy when others (people they don't even know) are somewhere in the world suffering and in pain (perhaps)?

How much misery do you have to feel to erase someone else's pain?

The above questions seem strange, don't they? But it happens everyday.

You're happy, life is good and then your friend calls you on the phone and says, "I just got the worst news ever..." He or she proceeds to spill their guts and, before you know it, you're feeling guilty for having a great life and you've now decided to join the depression camp with this person.
Here's the deal:
You can't raise another person's consciousness by sinking into their unconsciousness.

In other words, we lift as we climb and if you're sinking down to someone's level instead of rising them to yours, you're not helping the situation.

At the end of the day, there are those people who choose to be miserable because it gives them a payoff. You and I may not know what the payoff is but, rest assured, if the "Woe is me" line is a constant in a person's life, deep down, he or she knows there's a payoff... and really enjoys that.
How do you empathize without diving head first into a pit of misery, sadness, and guilt?

Relate but don't integrate. Understand that your pain doesn't require anyone else's participation. In fact, if you're a good friend, spouse, partner or family member, when you're in pain, you don't want everyone else to sign on and take your pain with them. That would be cruel. In the same way, when someone shares with you something that he or she is going through, there's a way to connect and relate without feeling guilty that your life, at this moment, is going more smoothly than their's.

Dr. Wayne Dyer says it best when he indicated, "You can't get sick enough to make someone healthy and you can't get poor enough to make someone rich." At the end of the day, while you can witness a person's life, you can't walk their journey for them. When you sign up to feel guilty about their situation, you not only add pain to your life but you add punishment to your blessings. All of a sudden, your good fortune becomes a thing of shame, something for you to feel guilty about.
Know one thing about guilt:
Guilt requires punishment and punishment requires pain.

Do you want that backache to go away? Are you ready to have your wrist stop hurting? Is it time for your knees to stop aching? Try getting rid of guilt. Remember: you wouldn't want anybody to purchase your pain so don't allow anyone else to sell you their guilt.

Empathize but don't pathologize. The greatest gift you can give to anyone going through something really horrible is the gift of hope. Your life is a light. Don't put out the flame because you desire to connect to someone's darkness. Shine the light and more light will follow it.

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