I take public transit to work from time to time, just to change my routine commute. Every time I get on the train, I like to observe the people around me. Most of them are fixated on their phones, or gazing outside the windows. A few of them might be having conversations with a friend who they happened to bump into on the train.
I often wonder what everyone’s story is about. I see an old man using a cane for instance and wonder at which point in his life he required the use of it. Or I might see the same lady on the train every time and wonder if she’s taking public transit because she doesn’t have a car, doesn’t know how to drive or perhaps she chooses to be environmentally responsible.
I sometimes wonder as well what deeper stories each of the passengers might have and if any of them are similar to mine. Do any of them suffer from depression or anxiety? How many of them might have been abused as a child, like I was, or maybe worse? What parts of their past are they holding onto?
I wonder these things not to judge any of them by any stretch, but I’m fascinated and curious by how we are all so unique from one and other with our own footprint and our own stories that make us who we are today.
On the weekend, I attended a book publishing workshop for authors. There was about one hundred attendees and I felt nervous and anxious just upon arriving at the conference center in downtown Vancouver. I recognized my anxiety and disappeared into a bathroom stall to settle my nerves down. I did some image tapping to help me remain focused on the present. After ten minutes of alone time, I managed to settle my anxiety down and was ready to face the crowd of strangers. I went around introducing myself as the upcoming author of Living with the Dragon and everyone I spoke to was eager to hear more about my book. As I shared about my personal life with strangers, I had the opportunity to hear their stories too. I was fascinated and intrigued by many of their journeys and surprised by the number of childhood abuse survivors also in attendance. There were two that I met that experienced first-hand abuse by their caregivers and another lovely lady had a relative who suffered through it. I applaud them for their courage to talk so openly about it since it took me just over forty years to do that.
After the weekend workshop was over, I realized that many of us in this world share similar challenges, whether it’s battling depression, anxiety, self-esteem or childhood abuse to name a few. Although we share similar challenges, our stories are all unique and affects us differently, making them our own experience.
I hope all those who have a difficult time talking about their arduous past, will someday find the courage to let the world know who they truly are and embrace themselves wholeheartedly. In the meantime, the rest of us will just have to wait patiently to offer them their much deserved compassion.