We all feel alone at times but the truth is that we are never truly alone. Someone, somewhere in the world is experiencing something similar to you, whether it’s bereavement, divorce, rejection, a miserable relationship or self loathing…we are not unique in our experiences.
This idea that there are experiences we all share is a comforting one. When we feel alone in what we are going through, we rarely divulge this and so we experience life in isolation. When we open up, it is often amazing how often others open up too and confess to feeling the same way now or in the past.
This got me thinking about experiences that we all share during our lives:
We all go through this traumatic experience but cannot recall this experience as it is believed at that age, our brains don’t yet function in a way that bundles information into the complex neural patterns that we know as memories. The jury is still out on whether we experience trauma at birth but either way, we all experience this and arrive having shared our first common experience.
No one likes to talk about it yet it happens to us all some time. If we paid more attention to this inevitable part of life, I imagine that many of us would alter our lives and change our priorities.
No matter who we are, we all experience rejection in some form. I see this as a comforting fact as it shows that it is just a part of life and should not be taken personally. We aren’t right for everyone and all those around us aren’t always a good match. It’s down to personal preferences.
Another concept with real negative connotations yet it is such a natural part of life. Adjusting our attitude to failure is key to working with it and learning from it. Never fear failure as it shows you are experimenting. That’s what life is about. Failing doesn’t mean YOU are a failure.
A beautiful sunset, a hug from someone you care about or a delicious meal. There are many ways to experience pleasure especially if we focus on gratitude and what is good in our lives. Watch that negative filter.
Bonding with others and feeling that someone understands you is one of the most amazing experiences and it’s free. A deep conversation about life, a chance to bond emotionally, even if for a brief moment – that’s what life is all about and we can all experience this.
Fear can be a good thing as it keeps us from danger. Sometimes our fears are unfounded though and we buy into our fearful thinking far too often. Have you ever anticipated an event with a large amount of dread only to find the event itself was not as bad as what you had imagined? Some fears are self induced. Life involves risk, learning to accept uncertainty is a key characteristic of mentally strong people.
Hope is like glittery fairy dust. It injects positive feelings into dismal situations and offers extra strength when the going gets tough. Hope is free and keeps dreams alive. We can all nurture hope whilst challenging our fearful thinking.
Expectation is a double edged sword. Having expectations sets the standard and when we expect positive things in our lives, we are hopeful and more optimistic. When expectations are unrealistic however, we can end up resentful and angry. It is best to have expectations around your chances of success or a bright happy future, rather than placing expectations on the behaviour of others. When we place expectations on others, we tend to come unstuck.
Another double edged sword. Anticipation is great when it helps us focus on our goals and stay on track but it becomes the enemy when we spend our life in anticipation. Statements like “I’ll be happy when…” can lead us into hot water. Practise mindfulness and try to be in the present moment as much as possible. This is definitely the best way to keep your spirits up. I liken anticipation to swimming. You put your head in the water and focus on your breathing and your movements (being mindful) but every now and then you look up for air and to check you are heading to the right destination. Look up every now and then and check you are going in the right direction, then put your head down and be in the moment.
I wish there was a proven formula for staying happy in life but there isn’t one. We can all do things to increase our happiness quotient though. There are experiences we all share and we can use these to connect with others. We really aren’t all that different to each other.
Photo by hlkljgk