Everyone has Something:The Sameness in our Differences
By Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso
We all like standing out at certain points in our life. There’s something satisfying about being recognized when something good happens or we get embraced for being unique. But deeply ingrained in human behavior is also a desire to be accepted on common ground and have others relate to us. The security and strength we find in fitting in is something we seek by nature and unfortunately that’s especially true when it comes to negatives.
No Person Suffers Alone
We live in a world populated by billions of living beings, but at the same time we’re born into the world being obsessed with ourselves and seldom grow completely out of putting ourselves as first priority. With that mindset it can be easy to frame our daily experiences in a bubble and forget that there are billions of people around us living their lives. For most, being alone in a victory is no problem but in comparison when we are having a negative experience seemingly alone it can be a completely different experience. It can get dramatic and while we frame it in a bubble we forget to look outside ourselves and gain true perspective.
I’m personally no stranger to bad things happening. I’ve always had pretty poor luck in the health department and a lot of it hit me hard and fast. What helped me start changing my perspective was when my mother told me to consider that everyone has something. That’s not meant to be a depressing thing really. It’s more of a way to ground yourself during tough times. When you think about the issues you’re having in a sort of concentrated state it can make the problem seem bigger than it actually is or give you a little too much room to ruminate on it and inflate it to an unrealistic proportion.
When I really thought about it from that different perspective, I realized what it truly meant was that every person has personal struggles they’re coping with on a daily basis. Some of them might be worse off then you and some might be close to being in the same boat as you. It made me stop and realize that it wasn’t all about me and I wasn’t the only person in the world dealing with a difficult situation. It made it somehow lighter to realize the world wasn’t just hammering down on me while everyone else was fine and it forced me to leave the personal bubble I was in.
When we really think about solving a problem or moving on from a rut,it adds weight and intensity when we come from a mindset of fighting alone. Realizing you aren’t alone in struggling with life helps you reach a point where you can breathe and recover. It’s encouraging because it helps you realize you aren’t alone and there is a way out. So the first step to overcoming your heavy burden may just be realizing others are carrying burdens and making life happen around you. Don’t consider it mass misery but rather find the solidarity and strength in the human race’s ability to make it and make it work for you.
The Process of Translating Misery to Growth
When bad things happen it makes perfect sense to be a little down about it. Finding positives in a negative situation is a challenge for a lot of us and no amount of intelligence,strength, or resources can change that fact. Once you gain perspective you will be initially left with a still existing problem and an unclear idea of how to address it. But improving your outlook is a really a perspective flip away.
People who are successful in life don’t get that way out of denial. They get through with a sense of realism and determination. Turning negatives into positives is a choice and an effort. It’s not something that will come overnight or easily. It’s something you have to want,commit to, and work toward. Any negative experience we have can also be translated into a chance to learn and grow. Instead of being depressed about being ill you gain strength finding new ways to live well and meet your goals. Instead of seeing debt as the end of the world you can look at it as a chance to learn a better way to handle your money so when you work your way out of that hole it doesn’t happen again. Instead of seeing an ended relationship as an emotional crisis you can see it as an opportunity to reassess your relationship goals and the person you find most ideal.
When we try to seek value in our negative experiences it changes the perspective of the situation as a whole. It will still be hard and it will still take time and patience to recover but it means when you do recover you come out with thicker skin and a fresh outlook.
Learning to Learn from Others
When we have problems it is instinctual to seek information and answers. But what really matters is where we’re seeking those answers. We live in a world with a lot of technology readily available so it is very common to turn to a thing before a person when we need to accomplish something. But your biggest downfall when dealing with a problem may be asking Google instead of a human being.
The people around you are dealing with things just like you are and a lot of them have possibly been through things and learned things that you can benefit from. The value in how a person finds solutions is that the human mind isn’t controlled by a programmed algorithm. Humans can listen and advise in a dynamic and emotional manner. They can truly engage you and that makes a big difference. A machine can’t process an experience like a person, so relying on it to advise you on personal problems can result in a lot of disappointment.
But asking for help can be a challenge for a lot of people. We live in a society that stresses success and independence so having to humble yourself and ask for advice can be a tough pill to swallow. Key to becoming an adult is getting to a point where you realize you can’t be a one-man band. There’s absolutely no shame in needing help from others and the amount of wisdom languishing around you while you cradle your personal pride in your arms is worth a lot more than getting it done without reaching out for help.
Next time you have a tough situation to turn around, don’t Google it and don’t ask Siri. Once you learn to recognize that there are billions of rich resources of wisdom and experience co-existing around you,you can begin appreciating the strength and support that can be found in actually engaging other people and turn your problems around in a much more timely and satisfying manner.
Don’t Make Your Company Miserable
We’ve all heard the saying that misery loves company and that can be a very real situation when we’re dealing with problems. The tendency to want to vent isn’t really the difficult part but what we often don’t do as readily is get the full experience of sharing our thoughts and problems with another person. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with venting our problems but what we want to avoid is transferring our problems and not using the experience to work toward a solution.
Much like when we talk at and not to a person, we instinctively vent our problems in a manner that is self-serving. We want to complain and we want to spread how bad we feel but we don’t always stop to let the other person weigh in or give advice. If no exchange occurs than you are in fact not having a conversation and that’s demeaning to the other person. All it really accomplishes is spreading the negative emotions and you walk away still having a a problem.
One of the things to consider next time you want to vent is how bad it feels to not be listened to. Doing a wrongful act toward another person won’t make you feel better or solve your problem. Instead, try to adopt a new approach. If you’re going through a tough time, don’t just dump on another human being as your first instinct. Carefully consider who to talk to and make an effort to engage the person. It’s not all about you. That person is also investing their time and energy to listen to you so make sure you convey your appreciation and respect for that.
If the person offers advice, the polite and mature thing is to listen to it. Consider it and do what you want with it later but for the time being you need to respect the person enough to listen and be open-minded. Real conversations foster growth and learning so you might be surprised how venting in the midst of real dialogue can actually improve how you feel and possibly get you closer to a resolution.
Misery and company don’t have to go together. Learning to see the positives in our negative experiences and growing from them can make your next ordeal not the end of the world. Likewise, accepting that you aren’t the only one suffering in the world and respecting the battles the people around you are fighting can give you the right perspective to stop spreading misery and start sharing wisdom. One of the greatest things we can do as people is be there for each other so next time you’re frustrated at how bad luck is singling you out,try broadening that horizon and finding strength in the human experience before you rush to drag someone down with you.