Grief

With Pain Comes The Gift Of Compassion

I’ve always been kind of a worrier. Since I was a little girl, before I even knew enough about life to worry, I worried.

My mom kept a journal for me from the time she was pregnant with me until I was five years old. When I was 4 1/2, she wrote this entry:

“You have been getting into a phase of being afraid and worried about a lot of things… I think you are just a very sensitive person. I think that is a good quality but sometimes it is tough for us because a lot of things bother you and we can’t always understand why.”

I’ve always been told I’m high strung, sensitive, worried a lot. Along with empathetic and kind-hearted, these are the describing words I’ve heard my entire life. Through thick and thin, highs and lows, these traits have trudged along with me.

And I can honestly say my sensitivity is genuinely the best and worst thing about me.

For me, happiness takes work.

I think people’s perception of me is often that I’m always positive and looking on the bright side of things. That I love quotes and uplifting messages simply because I’m a happy person.

am pretty happy most of the time, but that’s because I work at it. The real reason I’m so into uplifting messages is because I have a hard time feeling good and centered without those reminders. I have to meditate, journal, and read uplifting messages every single day in order to feel good.

In other words, feeling calm and happy doesn’t come naturally to me. Even after years of working at it, it’s not my baseline.

Neurosis, worry, anxiety, now that’s natural to me. It’s my default thermostat setting and I have to work every single day to turn the heat up to be the person I want to be.

It’s worth it. I actually appreciate that I have to work for it because it’s introduced me to a level of depth within myself that I wouldn’t have experienced if I didn’t have to journal and meditate every day.

Because I feel every emotion deeply, I’m not likely to get stuck in a gray, dreary world of not feeling great but not feeling terrible either. Just average, whatever. No, I feel everything so intensely that dullness is a rarity.

When you understand what pain feels like, you gain the capacity to become an incredibly empathetic and understanding person. You’re able to relate on a deeper level because you’ve been there.

I’ll never tell you to “suck it up!” I won’t judge you for feeling anxious about something I personally wouldn’t feel anxious about. I’ll listen to your worries and fears with an open heart. Why? Because I get it.

I know what it feels like to feel sad and not be able to explain why. I know what it’s like to be anxious about something stupid that’s never going to happen, yet you can’t stop replaying the scenario over and over and over.

When I was a kid, my mom said I got really anxious any time she left. When she’d return, I’d touch her face and say, “You came back!” as if I’d been sure I was never going to see her again.

I think my sensitivity allows me to feel deeper, love deeper, care more. I have a lot of compassion for people who feel lonely, anxious, depressed. I want to be a light for them. I want to share that it’s okay to not feel good sometimes. You’re not weird or messed up or broken. You’re human. I want to remind them that the darkness will lift, but sometimes you need help getting there.

Part of being human is feeling those darker emotions sometimes. When I have days where I’m feeling down, if I can find the self-awareness, I tell myself, “I’m having a very human day.”

Those low days serve a purpose. We can’t truly appreciate the light without the darkness. We wouldn’t appreciate the beautiful, sunny days as much if we didn’t have cloudy, rainy days sometimes. We wouldn’t appreciate Christmas so much if it came once a month. The slower, darker period in January serves a purpose. To give us a chance to reflect on the spirit of the holidays; to remember how much we love our families; to slow down.

The low after the high. It’s just like us.

If you’re a deep feeler, too, if you’re going through the pain right now, know that it is indeed serving a purpose. It’s forming you into a more dynamic, beautiful human being. It’s giving you the gift of empathy and compassion that one day you’ll be able to share with someone else.

After all, I believe we’re here to help and guide one another. TC mark

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A soulful writer floating through life with humor & grace. Follow Alissa on Instagram or read more articles from Alissa on Thought Catalog.

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