You may have heard the phrase "comparison is the thief of joy" well comparing suffering is the thief of empathy (I'll need to refine that to make it easier to say).
In this climate of fear, scarcity and blame, we might find ourselves making endless comparisons, even down to how we feel. Like; I can't feel too sad about this concert getting cancelled, because that person lost their business. Or other people have it worse than me. -Have you ever made comparisons like that?
Well making comparisons like this deny us the opportunity to really feel what's going on for us personally. It's a really unhelpful habit. Empathy is not like a pizza with only 8 slices, empathy is unlimited.
Giving myself a hard time for feeling sad about my situation will reduce my levels of empathy (pizza), and worse than that; it will put me into a more ego centric place of shame. I feel bad for feeling bad. How ridiculous is that?!
So what's the solution?
Attend to your own feelings. Complaining is ok. Feeling hurt and upset is valid, and ultimately helps you develop empathy.
You don't need to know what it's like to go through someone else's situation, but you can tap into similar feelings you've had, which means you can empathise.
If you enjoyed this blog, I'm sure you'll love this free meditation podcast episode.