I saw this quote recently that really spoke to me. “Your journey is not the same as mine, and my journey is not yours, but if we meet on a certain path, may we encourage each other.” I think this is the epitome of empathy. Empathy isn’t about understanding or the ability to say, “I get it. I’ve been there, too.” It’s about being there for others even when we don’t understand what they’re going through. Empathy is meeting on a path that doesn’t look the exact same as someone else’s path, but still giving encouragment, a hug and saying, “That really sucks. I’m so sorry. I’m here for you. I love you.” I do think it’s possible, even when we are going through our own struggles. What a beautiful thing when two people on a rough, rocky, difficult road can embrace each other, wipe each other’s tears and be there for each other even though their rough, rocky, difficult roads aren’t the same.
Depression can make it hard to look at anything but yourself and your own struggles. I know because I have had depression and had a hard time thinking of anyone but myself and my own struggles. But as I continue to learn and grow I’m trying harder to look outside myself and see how I can be there for others. As I have done so my own depression has eased and I’ve found connection, which is one of the most important things in the world to me. I hope I can keep getting better at this. And I hope we can all pass others on our journey who will encourage us and whom we can encourage as well.