One of the things in life that interests me is the collective experience of being a human in this world. We often hear about someone who has a “great testimony” because their life was once down and out but then radically changed for the better. You may even have read my own story and were more than a little surprised at the different trials that I have walked through. The truth is that a dramatic transformation or a life story full of chaos, doesn’t make the person any different than someone whose story isn’t as speckled with the highs and lows. We all feel the same on the inside. Sure, there is wisdom that comes only through pain that has been properly dealt with but does that pain have to be extreme or intense in nature to count? I don’t think so.
No matter what our journey has been so far, the emotions we experience are not unique. We all have shared in fear, hope, letdowns, nervousness, loss, loneliness, joy and so on. The circumstances that triggered those emotions are certainly going to be special to the specifics of our own life story, but the embodiment of the feelings are exactly the same for each human being.
For instance, let’s say we have anxiety while doing something normal in life. What is ignited is the same part of the brain that would be active if a bear were chasing us. The body doesn’t really differentiate between a bear and some other less than life threatening trigger for anxiety. The same goes for other emotions. As I have been known to tell many people: tears are tears. It doesn’t matter what caused them to flow. Once they are present, we know the person is experiencing them in all their depth to that person’s capacity.
Why do we honor or revere the life stories that are more like a Greek tragedy, while the quiet life stories seem to be downgraded? Perhaps it’s because we as a population feed off of drama. The tragedy of the plot pulls us in and keeps us watching. We as people relish in the under-dog coming out of the shadows to pull out the victory. Those are wonderful stories. I won’t deny that but I will say that if we are going to truly get to know ourselves and the value that our story brings to the entire picture of humanity, we must stop being as awed by the drama of a tragic life and honor all experiences as valuable.
Imagine if we each honored our individual journey and were very comfortable with sharing all that we have learned. The knowledge base of those around us would be beautifully enriched. We could learn from one another at a much richer level and perhaps, we could even avoid some of the pitfalls that many of us unintentionally fall into.
To know me is to know that I truly value life lessons; no matter how they are learned. Sometimes our best teachers are those that have quietly gained wisdom through truly observing their own lives and living fully aware of their own emotional state; tragic or not.
Everyone has a story.