You have to have been down to help someone get up. Empathy is so much better than sympathy. With empathy, people understand where you are because they have been there.
I often feel alone. I often feel as if I am alone even when I’m with others. Sometimes it isn’t just a feeling. Sometimes I’m in a group of people and when we choose places to sit it turns out that everybody else sits together and I have to sit by myself. It hurts. It is like I lost at musical chairs.
Sometimes I overshare, and I’m a little hard to deal with. Sometimes my full expression of myself is a bit too much for people. Sometimes that means I get excluded.
I’m starting to understand I’ve been made this way, this being different, this being separate. Because I’m different and separate, I can understand others who are different and separate. Because I understand their exclusion I can include them.
I’ve come to realize that what I have to bring to the world requires that feeling, that sense of alone-ness, of alienation. That way I can “see” others who are also alone and make a bridge. It doesn’t make it easier, really. It is still hard to be excluded. I’d love to feel like I was understood, that people “got” me.
I’m starting to feel that we all have that feeling every now and then. I’m starting to feel that many of us who are “in” are just faking it. I’m tired of faking it. I’m tired of hiding who I am. I’m tired of conforming. The more I try to fit into someone else’s box, the more I stunt my own growth. I think that when I’m honestly myself, my true self, I give other people the permission to be themselves too. It is my experiences of alienation and exclusion that have taught me this. I could have felt forced to comply, to submit, to blend in. Instead, I’m going the other direction – and calling others to join me.