The human requirement for shared experience

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWatching a movie trailer recently I had a renewed glimpse of the importance of having shared experiences with others. It is a critical part of living a full, meaningful life.

To be honest I can’t remember much about the movie at the moment, but a socially isolated teenage character entered her home with an air of excitement that was evident. I knew immediately she had made a connection with a friend.

Whether it’s winning a race, graduating from school, or more unfortunately, having a serious illness, there is comfort and often joy in being in the company of others who understand what we are going through because they have gone through it too.

This is especially true in more extreme situations. If you have lost a child, watched your business fail, or seen your behavior become more and more upsetting as you fall into the clutches of an addiction, you will need to gather your courage and find others who are taking a constructive approach to their similar problem. It’s a critical thing to do. You won’t regret it.

It amazes me to meet as many people as I do who are categorically opposed to sharing their joys as well as difficulties with others. Sometimes I am stunned. Many people also avoid any event associated with personal growth because of the sharing with others or the looks inward that are typically part of such an event. The shame they imagine from others or the fear of what lurks within themselves cripples them.

The old saying, “Shared joy is doubled, and shared sorrow is halved,” is true. And, the better the match the more results we get.

Of course, this comradeship needs to include sharing our emotions…or ”being ourselves out loud,” as I call it. Otherwise our sharing can be dry and unsatisfying.

I once had a client with severe chronic pain. I felt sad as I worked to help her cope when her local pain clinic closed, and she had to scramble for a new doctor. Unfortunately, pain medications are typically addictive and have to be prescribed sparingly. It’s easy to want more than it’s safe to have, and addictions can result.

This particular client told me about her “pain pal.” This person was someone who suffered from pain like herself, and when the pain was difficult and the medications did not help enough, they would talk on the phone to provide a distraction from the pain until the worst had passed. Sometimes it took hours. It was a mutual arrangement. The mutuality was important.

In summary, life has its difficulties and its joys…and both are truly better if we share them with constructive others. It may make the difference between an isolated depression and friendship and a sense of purpose and growth.

Got an example of how this has worked for you that you’d like to share with other readers? Leave it in a comment below.  I will typically remove your email address before posting your comment. (Let me know if you want me to leave it.)


This entry was posted in Addiction, General, Healing, Optimal Living, Self Esteem, Sex addiction, Trauma. Bookmark the permalink.

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