So often we are focused just on the self. We think about our pain, whether it be emotional or physical, past or present, and that eclipses everyone else. We seem to forget the suffering others are going through too or we say to ourselves, well yes they are suffering or have suffered too, but it’s not as great as my suffering. We can’t measure one human being's suffering vs. another’s. Suffering is not a competition. It’s not the Olympics of pain. There is no way to quantify this. That suffering is real and acute to the other person in pain. When you hear yourself making statements like this, remember this.
Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning states, “The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself. Self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”
For me, I say to myself, well yes I suffered this, but can I think beyond myself and realize that others have suffered as well. I try to offer them kindness and compassion, and acknowledge that they too have suffered. Can you extend your compassion out to others as well?
You may find that it frees you!