How do you keep from absorbing the pain of your loved ones?
If your mate is ”having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”* or week or month, how can you keep from having one, too?
If someone you love is struggling with an issue that is making them question their standing/status/future in the world (like yet another lay-off) does it make you begin to question your standing/status/future in the world?
Let’s say you have a close friend or relative who is depressed; in loving them, having empathy for them – do you begin to experience their pain?
Are you allowed to still feel joy about your life when you are surrounded by others who are feeling pain? Can you still want to do the things you enjoy – a long walk, dancing to old school and new cool music, or organizing your photos – to name but a few?
Should you keep your joys and small daily accomplishments to yourself? How can you even have pleasure when some of the closest people to you feel doom and gloom?
It’s not that I don’t feel pain or that I don’t worry – I do, I do. But I have a point below which I don’t sink…at least not for very long. I’ll have a brief pity-party (often with myself) and then I’m on to what to do next. Instead of focusing on all the things I can’t do or don’t have – I do the thing(s) that I can. There’s always something one can do. This attitude and ability has worked for me for most of my life.
I learned early to lean on myself. I learned early that forces larger than me – namely my parents, a mate, an employer, the weather – could change my life in an instant. Instead of thinking, “why me,’ I most often think, “why not you, bruthuh?” (This is a quote from a film Richard Pryor was in; I wrote a blog about it some months ago.)
Hear ye, hear ye:
I love you. I feel for you. But, as Barbara Streisand sang in the movie, Funny Girl, don’t rain on my parade.**
I’m working diligently not to let my joy be stolen by the pain of others. My turn for pain will come soon enough. Until then – I plumb for satisfaction.
*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (Author), Ray Cruz (Illustrator)
**”Don’t Rain On My Parade” (Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Bob Merrill, Performed by Barbra Streisand)