When we find ourselves frozen in a moment, or worse, an eon of pain, trouble or worry; or on the flipside are captured in a freeze-frame of delight, joy or living rhapsody, sometimes we forget that these moments and emotions are just ours. For everyone around us – our friends, family and John, Betty and Sally-May passing us by, the world keeps turning almost like nothing is happening. And that’s perfectly understandable.
Everyone is living their lives separately. We have separate existences. Separate headspaces. Separate living spaces. So naturally, when our own separate existence changes course, it is only those residing within its sphere who we can expect to react or even have knowledge that there is anything going on at all.
And what are our expectations of others? Just because our life is changing in some way, doesn’t mean that anyone else’s is. It’s not their sick child; it’s not their divorce; it’s not their unpaid bills. It’s not their wedding; it’s not their new baby; it’s not their promotion. Sometimes we might feel hurt, lonely or even angry or betrayed that the people around us are not jumping up and down reacting to the change in our lives – be it positive or negative. When we fall on hard times, these feelings can often be misplaced stress and inability to cope with overwhelming circumstances. When we are experiencing the delicious highs of life, these feelings can simply be the longing to share. What may equalise the emotion is the notion that while you are living your saga of sickness, health, love, loss, fortune and wonder…. Everyone else is doing the same. So it’s nothing personal. You have not been forgotten – everyone is just living their story just like you, albeit a different one.
Keeping this notion in mind – that the world keeps on turning and life goes on for everyone – takes me to a further viewpoint: Just because you are deep in a life experience, doesn’t mean someone else isn’t. If we stop our own separate world turning for one moment and look at how another’s is spinning on a different axis, we can see the word through their perspective. In this still moment, our needs are irrelevant. This is how empathy and compassion are born. You may see beauty. You may see pain. You may wish to shut your eyes and wish you had never seen it. Whatever you see gives you the opportunity to react.
We all benefit and enjoy the kindness of others. However we are the others. We have the power to make the lives better of those around us in some small way – if we take the time to understand their needs. I’m not suggesting we all turn into saints and superheroes. I’m far from that. I’m a whiney old mama who wants to sit around and drink tea and have a nanny and a cleaner and cook and a massage every day if I could! Huh! (Note I do not have these things). However I am suggesting that we stop thinking about ourselves and our own needs quite as often, taking the time to look, listen and learn (sounds like a primary school slogan for something) and if we feel that someone in our life is in need, offer something that is within our scope. Perhaps, leaving soup on a sick friend’s doorstep, taking their baby for a walk, lending them money to pay a bill, doing a grocery shop for them or just listening to them have a big vent and a cry. Whatever it is that they need and you can provide without a detriment to your own world spinning soundly.
When you feel that your world has frozen in time, remember everyone else’s is still turning, however so is yours – you’ve just hit a bump. It will start to roll along smoothly again soon. Take heed that we are all connected and just as you can step outside your sphere and find compassion for others, so too can others find compassion for you. The first step is to let them.