Twenty Years Later: “I Feel Your Pain…But Not My Own”

By Jennifer Miller

The year 2012 will be remembered for many important events and  happenings. Two of the biggest are the London Olympics and our own Presidential Election on November 6. But 2012 is also significant in that it has been 20 years since President Bill Clinton made his famous statement in March 1992:

“I feel your pain.”

While it is very difficult to feel another person’s pain, or suffering, unless you have “walked in their shoes”, we can all feel our own emotions, including pain. But why is it that so few people are actually able or willing to feel real emotions?

Do the activities and distractions in our lives numb our inner feelings?

Is it our culture of overconsumption, where we overeat and overspend, and in the extreme, abuse alcohol and drugs?

People are often afraid to go inward and truly connect with their real, raw emotions. It exposes us and makes us vulnerable…but also makes us more authentic. And humble. Getting to the real cause of personal pain and anger can often involve nothing more that looking at ourselves as we are now, not at who we were in the past. We are not that person any more. Forgive that person or move on from that person. Benefit from the often humorous process of “observing yourself” at this very time in your life. I often feel like a stand-up comic,  with an audience of “none” as I go inward and self-reflect. But it makes me aware of the moment.

I am one with my espresso coffee machine in the morning. I am one with my two dogs while I walk them. I am one with my cutting board as I prepare vegetables for cooking.

Do I feel like saying “enough already” and want to rejoin the noisy fray? Sometimes. But to go inward is so much more rewarding. I connect with my inner feelings and shower them with positive reflections. This can often produce the little miracles and happy endings that make life worth living.

Namaste, Jennifer Miller

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