There’s an interview between Brené Brown and Chase Jarvis. Brené is a vulnerability researcher and story-teller — her life’s work is to study vulnerability, openness, and the practical applications. For happiness purposes.
She talks about empathy; specifically empathy compared with sympathy. Brown says that empathy is powerful because it says, I hear you, I’ve been there, and I know exactly how you feel.
Sympathy, instead, says, Wow, that really does suck and I’m glad that’s happening to you, and not me.
There’s a taboo in our society; we’re not allowed to talk about sadness. Weakness is punished, strength encouraged. But… People are under the illusion that they’re alone. That they’re the only person who feels sad because no one else admits it.
I’m sad fairly often. And I do all the right things — meditation, reading, physical activity, a girlfriend, good friends, and owning a small-time landscaping company. And yet, most every day fluctuates between melancholy. At some point, sadness is always present. I feel some kind of sad most every day.
And uncertainty plays a large role — uncertainty about this blog is the manifestation of uncertainty in my life. I’m not exactly sure what my blog is: sometimes I write on sadness. Sometimes about travel. Others, books and technology and sometimes I – try – to write motivational pieces.
The point is, even the people who you think have it figured out, don’t. Nobody really knows what in the hell they’re doing. Especially the people who look like they have it figured out because then they’re expected to lead based on the fact they’ve got it together. And in truth, no one is given a handbook for how to live.
I have no illusions that I have it figured out. I have no illusions that I’m a person who has it together particularly well, even. I just know that I feel sadness, uncertainty, and doubt just as often, if not more than other people.
Everyone feels these things. It’s just nice to know, first hand, from people’s mouths, that others feel them too. Because then you’re not alone.