Clearly, we are all here together. I've noticed that if you can find ways to feel more compassion towards everyone else, you will actually be able to feel a greater connection and less alone yourself. One way I'm expanding this ability for myself is using the heart-shifting exercise below:
Practice walking through an hour, a day, a week, or longer while thinking “We” to yourself before making eye contact with an approaching stranger. When you do so, simply notice any difference you feel or exhibit as you pass, greet, or engage the person as a result of having this thought.
As I continue to work with individuals from all walks of life, I am becoming more tuned in to a similar challenge faced by most, if not all of us. There is an unnerving side of this human condition we share. Not easily visible from the outside, we generally suffer it alone, unaware of its ubiquity.
From where I'm sitting, however, I can see these shadowy bits lurking between our great moments and good days; I sometimes hear gnawing doubts voiced just moments after a hilarious post; I recall the clawing worries that aren’t included in year-end summaries and sweetly posed snapshots.
What is this beast that we all keep penned in with great concern, hidden from friends and loved ones?
It goes by “Fear of Not Enough”. It surfaces as not good enough, loveable enough, smart enough, rich enough, skinny enough, or popular enough. No matter how it presents, it’s all born of the same threat. Ultimately, it seems we fear that if we are not enough or do not have enough, we will not be found worthy of inclusion by others, even inclusion within ourselves. This fear of social isolation is more powerful than most motivators. It leads to insomnia, lack of work/life balance, eating disorders, and far worse… in spite of our actually having a safe place to sleep, food to eat, and people who love us within reach.
I invite each of us to remember that we are each doing the best we can with the tools, parenting, opportunities, and information we have had... and each of us has our own version of the beast hiding somewhere. If you can practice finding "we" at the onset of interactions, you might find more calmness and compassion for another's journey -- as well as your own.
When you do something that makes your life better, please feel free to let others know. Your actions could inspire them to do something similar. We're all in this together after all. Thank you for reading.