Away from Self
Actively listening to each other’s lows allows the listener for a moment to focus on something other than his or her own pain. Imagine raising a teenager who thinks: "Hmmm . . . my mom has problems too, or, Hmmm . . . my dad . . . he’s a human being."
Taking turns sharing highs and lows draws you to focus both on yourself and on the needs of others. When you take turns sharing both highs and lows, it teaches you that it’s not all about you. (Yes, it is about you—but it’s not ALL about you.)
Look Around and Look Again
We mentioned earlier that peri+spect means to look around. Re+spect means to look again. Sharing a low and listening to others open up and own up to their pain leads to both broader perspective and deeper respect. So look around and look again. Other people have problems, too. Look around and look again. Some of their problems are actually worse than yours, and yet they seem to be coping. Look around and look again. It may be by leaving your pity-party and helping others that you will actually help yourself.
TOMORROW: The Neurology of Sharing Lows