As the world is seemingly sucked into the black-hole-vacuum of despair around us, we are faced with a new self-punishment. It is guilt above all, in glorious, Old-Testament abundance, when we consider our own suffering. We’ve added a personal, internal attack for our sadness when it is directed inward. It’s as if we’ve disallowed any sympathetic emotion unless it is being extended to others. No matter the circumstances of our failures, regardless of how we relentlessly worked toward our goals, despite how justified we are for feeling the slightest pity for our own existence, we convince ourselves that these thoughts—this compassion for ourselves is categorically wrong because there is such great suffering outside of us—that there are far greater travesties and tragedies to be prioritized. While all of these significant targets for our empathy may be more deserving, the importance of our need for internal sympathy cannot be diminished or overstated. I truly believe that without it, we take the final step in the dissolution of our universally deteriorating mental health. It’s okay to feel bad for yourself. It makes you no less aware or affected by the suffocating swell of justified depression of those who surround you. There are no limits to our mercy in either direction.
Listen to this post with bonus content read by me on The Thought & Other Absurdities Podcast below.