Margaret from Pennsylvania told me about an experience she’d had thirty years ago, when she was in her early twenties. One day, during a time of depression and uncertainty, she’d suddenly realized that everyone who is now living, as well as everyone who has ever lived, had a sense of how she felt because they, too, have felt emotional pain and confusion at some point in their lives.
“In that moment, I became aware that thousands, millions, maybe a billion, maybe billions of people on the planet were hurting in some way right then, at the same time as I was,” she said. “Even though they did not know me personally, they knew how I felt and I knew how they felt… not exactly, but we all knew pain. In that moment, my heart burst open. I felt compassion for them and compassion for me. I try to remember that experience whenever I sink into depression and feel alone in my own sadness. It helps me to be kinder to myself and to others.”