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Common Humanity

I listened to her story for an hour and a half. I realized she needed to hear she was not alone in her suffering.

As I shared my recent struggles to a family member, I realized I needed to hear I was not alone.

Common humanity.

A sense of interconnectedness and central to self-compassion.

Common humanity recognizes that all humans are flawed, works in progress.

We all fail, make mistakes and experience hardship in life.

In my own life, my work as a life coach, mom, and my work for a nonprofit, I hear stories of hardship, suffering and pain.

When I make myself available to listen and share stories, I see relief, refreshment and a little ray of hope.

Sometimes the hope is for others and sometimes it’s for me.

I tend to be very private and want to fight my battles alone.

But over the years, I have re-trained my default reaction and formed a new belief system.

When I experience pain, I remember that pain is part of the shared human experience.

Then my pain is transformed into a moment of connection with others.

The circumstances and degree of pain are different, but the basic experience of suffering is the same.

I refuse to fall into the trap of believing things are “supposed” to go well and something has gone wrong when they don’t.

I know now, it is evitable I will make mistakes and experience hardships on a regular basis. This is normal and natural.

The concept of common humanity helps protect me from blame and defensiveness and ushers me into the act of being kind, loving and present.

For others.

For myself.

You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.

Mark 12:31

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