Do you feel like I feel?
Or do you think you experience feelings no one else does?
Most of the time, I think we assume our feelings are different. We think we’re going through something that no one else has ever gone through. We know this because if we dare try to explain it to someone, they give us those odd looks, like they’ve never experienced it before.
But is that really accurate?
I’ve talked about this with a couple friends about my age. And like I said, we usually come to the conclusion that, yes, most of us do experience things no one else experiences. Classic adolescence, right? We think we’re misunderstood.
But the more I read and listen to older people I admire, the more I realize how often they seem to disagree with our assumption. I’m not sure I’ve ever read or heard any of them explicitly say that everyone has basically the same feelings. But still, they seem to implicitly communicate that.
People who’ve lived life, not just older people, but people in general who’ve experienced a lot of different things and kept their eyes open, tend to live as if there’s nothing new under the sun, that it is possible to feel the same thing as someone else. They’re optimistic about empathy.
So what do you think? Do you think you experience feelings no one else does? Or do we all experience the same things? Or is it somewhere in the middle? And if it’s in the middle, where in the middle?
Or the related question, what do people around you think about this, and which of them do you trust? Maybe you think the mature ones are the ones who assume we’re all very different. What do you think?
Or maybe I should ask, how do you feel about it?