Sunday, March 28, 2004

Monopoly on Pain and Suffering

I think it's obvious that we don't have the monopoly on pain and suffering. Yet when we are hurt or depressed, we feel that the whole world is against us, and that others have no right to judge us because they don't know what we're feeling.

And to a certain extent, that's true. They don't know how we feel. But the opposite is also true. We don't necessarily know what others feel. Just because we suffer does not necessarily mean others aren't hurt as well. Or that ours is more painful which is why people should be more considerate to us or pity us.

In fact, my view of suffering is that it should enable you to empathize more with others. Because everyone gets hurt, and when you're hurt, you have an idea of what the other person could be feeling (even if he or she is not feeling it at the moment). As I said, one does not have the monopoly on pain and suffering. Sure, we could rant and rant, but what good would that do? It won't help yourself and it certainly won't help those around you.

And in the end, only we can solve our own problems. We can't really expect others to solve them for us. But we can be there for others (and others for us)-- not to solve their problems, but to share in their pain, because we're quite acquainted with pain as well. Sure, being there might not directly help the other person, but when a person tells his or her problems to another person, sometimes, there's some relief. It could be catharsis, it could be letting it out, etc. Whatever the case, it does help to know that someone's there.

But perhaps what's more important is that being with others who suffer forces you to grow. Because we can't all be strong all the time, and when others are the ones who are faltering, sometimes, we are empowered to be there for them, despite all our weaknesses. And perhaps it is because we recognize we have weaknesses that we are able to understand them better, and that we are able to help and aid them. The cycle can also be perpetuated, that when we are in our weak moments, they can be a source of support.

One concept from Theology I took to heart was that of "Wounded Healer". Yes, we're wounded. But just because we're wounded does not mean we can't change, that we can't help ourselves or those around us. In fact, it's because we are wounded that we are in a position to help others as well as ourselves. In this world, there are really no messiahs: no one's perfect and all powerful that they will come to save everyone. But there are wounded healers, each one of us, who despite are own weaknesses, manages to overcome the challenges that stand in our way. And we're wounded healers not just for ourselves, but for others as well. As I said before, we can't always be strong all the time. But we don't have to be alone, and others can be there for us when we falter, just as much as we can be there for them.

Of course that doesn't mean I'll stop whining in this blog...


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