i feel you

“oh my god that is so horrible.”

“i am so, so, sorry to hear that.”

“i feel you. hang in there.”

those are typical expressions we use when we want to convey our sympathy to others. we mean well and sometimes we do feel saddened by whatever unfortunate events that happen to them. but do we truly “feel” the same level of agony or anger that they are experiencing? the honest answer to that, most of the time, is no. even when they are people who are endeared to our hearts. even when the unfortunate events are similar to what we had in the past. even when we want to plunge our emotional selves into the gorges of anguish in the name of solidarity.

every moment of emotional pain is unique. hence,  there is no mass-produced, on-the-shelf remedy to cure it. instead, the one in emotional pain is required to develop a tailored antidote from scratch, every single time. sure, there are tools available to expedite the process: past experiences, support from family and friends, future goals. but they are just tools. the act of determining the right mixture of ingredients to make an antidote that works, through multiple trials and analysis, still needs to be done. and this very act, can only be performed by the one in emotional pain himself. it is not something that one can delegate, outsource, or contract to someone else. essentially, one is on one’s own. and this, is why overcoming emotional pain can be a very daunting, overwhelming, and seemingly impossible task.

overcoming an emotional pain is a process that takes time. mostly because in the process one needs to learn more about, or stumble upon a new feature of, or write-off certain piece of, his own self, before one can rise above the emotional pain. this is the essential part, that, is not only required to develop the tailored antidote, but also critical for one’s emotional growth. which, in the course of life, can serve as some sort of emotional arsenal for the next wave of grief.

if this can be some sort of consolation, no one in this world is immune to emotional pain. at some point in life, one will experience some kind of emotional pain. and yet, people do survive, recover, or even thrive after those painful experiences. i believe that fundamentally we are equipped to deal with them. the muscle is already there, but at times it is not yet strong enough. hence the “exercise” – to build the resilience required to endure this thing called life.