One of the first things you learn when you’re a kid is the concept of friendship. Humans need wholesome companions, we need to have noble friends to learn from one another.
Looking back I realize that isolating myself from the world made my depression worse. Having to make the effort to talk to people or pretend that I cared about what they were talking about was so exhausting that at some point I just stopped trying.
I recently moved to a big city and one of the first differences I noticed from where I used to live is that there seems to be less contact between the people. I always joked about how uncomfortable small talk is, but I now find myself longing for these brief moments of casual talk… I miss talking about the weather in an elevator or asking the cashier about her kids. People in big cities are always in a hurry, and I find this to be especially true for the people in the subway; it’s like they’re on some important mission to get to their destination and acknowledging your presence, even for a small second, will cause them to lose hours of their precious time.
This used to frustrate me a lot in the beginning, I mean…don’t people know there’s another train passing by in literally a minute??? My boyfriend, who has been here for 4 years told me that when he finally got a car he realized that his happiness had been directly linked to the subway. He would arrive to work feeling a bit down after taking the train, but when he didn’t take it he would be his usual happy self. This made so much sense to me. After a few weeks I started feeling myself mirroring other people’s zombie facial expressions. But that situation didn’t change and it won’t for a long time… I will still have to use the subway — at least while it’s still too cold to ride a bike — but that doesn’t mean I have to allow any external factors to affect my mood.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness
I still say good morning with a big smile on my face to the people in the subway or the elevator. I can always sense their confusion at first, and for a few seconds it feels pretty awkward, but they always smile back because people need human contact. We all want to be happy and we will always respond positively to comforting gestures.
My point is, no matter how sad we feel, it is important that we don’t cut ties with the rest of the world. I am not saying this will solve the problem or that people shouldn’t get professional help if they feel depressed, but if you can avoid the feeling of complete loneliness, then you should at least try to. I think the most important thing to understand is that being depressed or feeling lonely are not facts, they are feelings, and like every other feeling, we can learn to control them.
In the previous entry I wrote that caring about someone else helped me save myself, and that is because compassion is one of the most things in the world. As long as you cultivate compassion and approach people with nothing but good thoughts, you will always receive compassion in return, and it will eventually help you lose that fear or apprehension before approaching people or making plans.
Compassion is what helps us create our happiness.