Sometimes it becomes difficult to see the common ground we all share. On the surface our lives are so full of contrast that we often forget just how much we have in common. It is important to realize that no matter what our jobs, passions, appearance or lifestyle, we are all on the same road – we just use different vehicles to travel it. With this understanding comes great empathy. To be able to look through the superficial differences and see the commonalities we all share is one of the greatest abilities of our intellect.

We will never be capable of true relationships with others if we continue to view them as others.

Once the basic survival needs are met, we all pursue the same few things. From Abraham Maslow to Tony Robbins, these concepts have been discussed brilliantly and at great length. It’s pretty straight forward. We strive to be loved. We yearn to give love. We want to grow. We seek understanding. We want to feel important. We want to be satisfied.

This understanding that we are all after the same things frees us of our own ignorance, and allows us to embrace each other as brothers and sisters in common necessity. Whether it be your first love, your best friend, your most despised colleague, your 4th grade math teacher or the mailman, we are all after the same things. With this knowledge we can no longer fault others for their actions, and we no longer take it personally when they “slight” us. We see they are simply amidst the search in which we find our own selves.

We do not have to walk a mile in their shoes, because we’ve been walking along side them all along. Life is very, very hard for all of us. We must never forget the adversity we have overcome, and we must never forget that we are not the only ones fighting. To live is to struggle, but we should not struggle because of one another. It is a brave and valiant thing we do here, living this human life. It is an incredibly demanding and rewarding experience. We do our best with the time we are given. We courageously ride the troughs just as we do the crests. It is beautiful, and it is painful.

We will find much more beauty and much less pain if we remember one simple idea:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Spark Your Growth

Do your best to take nothing personally.

If someone wrongs you it is of two types: intentional and unintentional. If their wrong doing was out of un-intention, it was an act simply done out of ignorance, and for that we cannot fault them. If there wrong doing had intent then our wrong doer was motivated by malice. Malice is a result of ignorance, and you once again cannot fault them. Remember no matter how misguided or ill-intentioned someone’s actions seem, they are at the most basic of levels trying to either increase their pleasure or decrease their pain.

When looked at earnestly, it becomes hard to hold such motivated actions against each other. Nothing is personal. We are all just doing the best with the tools we have.

Bonus Material:

A brilliant 10 minute video on the importance of empathy in our civilization.