Last Updated on December 11, 2023

Is it OK to feel good while others suffer?

Growing up autistic, I had hyper empathy for suffering beings.

I wanted desperately to stop the suffering of other people.

And animals too, I couldn’t stand seeing animals suffer.

I also felt like it was “wrong” to feel good while others suffered.

I’ve noticed a lot of my neurodivergent clients also experience this.

As if adding to the world’s suffering would somehow decrease it!

Suffering Together

Over the years though, I realized this isn’t necessary.

When I first coached people, I’d also get into their suffering.

If I had an anxious client, I’d get anxious with them.

If I had a client who felt hopeless, I’d also see their situation as hopeless.

But now there were two people who needed coaching!

This ultimately didn’t help anyone.

It’s like jumping into a lake to save a drowning person, only for them to drown you too.

I thought caring meant you shared in the other person’s suffering.

If you didn’t feel bad, did you even care?

Happiness for All

Eventually I realized something important.

If the goal is for everyone to be happy, me being miserable doesn’t get us closer to that goal.

As they say on airplanes, “put on your oxygen mask first.”

I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling crappy, I can be a little bitch.

I prickle at the slightest request or interruption.

Whereas when I’m feeling good, I’m more friendly and helpful.

It’s like I have more to give, I feel abundant.

So actually, me feeling good is both for me and for other people!

Feel Good, Do Good

You feeling like crap doesn’t help suffering people.

You can help while feeling good that you are helping!

That’s more sustainable, whether you are a coach, an activist, or just a good friend.

You don’t need to self-sacrifice to be a good person.

Taking care of yourself, that’s taking care of a being worthy of happiness.

What little thing might you do today to feel fantastic?

May all beings be happy and free from suffering.

Take care,
~Duff

p.s. If you want to learn more about how to live joyfully while helping others, consider joining my coaching group The Joy of Doing.

We meet Sundays at 11am Denver time for an hour. Starting January 7th, we’ll be going through my 8 Principles of Joyful Doing from the beginning, taking a year to learn and practice them all.

You can see if the group is a good fit for you by getting a free 30-minute consultation. Only $47 a month.