Intense moments of grief become watersheds in our lives. There is forever more a "before" and an "after". Nothing is ever quite the same. Just like the joys in our lives, intense moments of grief can shape us, define us and alter our worldview. For many, grief leads to empathy. When we have been wounded emotionally, the hurts of others are more brightly illuminated. That newly found vision may be more clear with others grieving over similar circumstances, but our empathy tends to be enhanced in more general terms as well. Pain is pain.
Not everyone's grief merges into empathy. For some, it can transform into negative and bitter emotions. But, the potential for our grief to become empathy for others is always there. This is one of the few human universals - emotional pain. To be human is to hurt, and grief is inescapable if we are to live life fully. As a result, we are all called to kindness, compassion and understanding for all people everywhere. Grief and loss come in all forms. So, let's smile warmly at that person standing next to us in the checkout line. They've been hurt, too, and that pain has defined them as our pain has defined us. We are united in our humanness, in our emotional states, and in our desire to make sense of it all.
Be kind to each other and to yourself.
© Copyright 2015 Douglas Layer, M.A., LPCC