Feeling the Pain of Others

By Debra Moffitt everton-vila-140207

The veils of separation between us are falling. When a friend’s sister died recently, I felt my friend’s pain and cried as if her grief were my own. I didn’t hang onto the grief, but the experience amazes me as I understand how deeply connected we all are. As an executive a few years ago I wore such a protective emotional armor that I felt disconnected from my emotions and pretty much everyone else. But with some work and grace that has fallen away and the true connectedness of life is revealing itself more each day.

Not Just for Friends

About a month ago, an acquaintance committed a very hurtful and illegal act intended to cause me stress and anxiety. I’ve always been correct with him and kept my integrity, but he has challenged me at each turn to stand up for myself and set my limits. When I received the news of what he’d done, I felt so upset and stressed, that I couldn’t sleep. The next day I sought legal counsel. In meditation, I went into the depths of my own anxiety and wept until my pain disappeared. Then something surprising and shocking happened. As I slipped deeper into the experience, I felt the man’s pain behind his actions. What he’d done wasn’t personally against me, but a reaction to his own suffering.

The experience took me closer to Truth. The great Truth of all wisdom traditions reveals that we are all one. For a long time I thought, “yeah, right, I get it.” But it wasn’t until that deep moment in the heart of pain with someone who I’d been at odds with, that I understood what it truly meant. His pain was my pain.

This is the core of wisdom traditions too. “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”

When you begin to feel that experience of connectedness — and not just to people you like and get along with — the power of that practice begins to make sense. When we hurt others, we’re hurting ourselves. It’s as simple and clear as that.

A Deeper Awakening

More and more people, especially empaths, are awakening to this connectedness as we feel what others feel. We know the importance and power of our thoughts, words, and actions. We know how bringing light to suffering can shift a situation and create a foundation for healing.

In my meditation, I sent love energy to the pained man. The next times our paths crossed, I still kept my distance. I know that he is who he is and will likely continue to be hurtful and create pain for others until he’s ready to shift. I understand where he is and maintain my healthy boundaries out of self-respect.

What about you? Have you noticed you’re feeling more in tune with the world around you? I’d love to hear about some of your experiences too.

Copyright Debra Moffitt, 2017.



  1. I loved reading about your transformative meditation experience, it is such a miracle. Feeling the pain of others is not always easy for me and when I allow myself to fully feel it and not resist it, it washes over me like a cleansing river and leaves me feeling cleaner and clearer. We are connected ❤️

    • Hi Rachel, the odd things was that I had not intended to feel their pain. I hadn’t tuned in either. With the grief, I simply picked up my phone when I received the text message from the broken hearted sister and it hit me. Then I understood the emotions of grief welling up. And for the hurtful man, it’s like I was led deeply beyond my little ego self to see/feel his pain as a way to understand. It was cleasning and clearing, like you described. Good for you for daring to go there into those deep places!

  2. OMG Debra…this article is so divinely timed for me this morning. I had a similar experience over the past month where I had to move through my anxiety, fear and upset with someone who hurt me deeply to transmute the feelings to compassion. I did this my seeing us enveloped in a sphere of white light connected in love. Xo

  3. Most poignant to read, “As I slipped deeper into the experience, I felt the man’s pain behind his actions. What he’d done wasn’t personally against me, but a reaction to his own suffering.” Appreciating your tender ability to SPIN YOUR GOLD…a true spiritual alchemist!

  4. Debra, Thank you for sharing this experience. I am sorry you had to go through it! As much as I protect myself, as an empath there are moments when I am caught off guard. The physical ramifications seem to be more difficult to move through than the emotional ones. Recently, I was in one of my ‘safe’ spaces where I find peace, rejuvenation and joy. It was there that I walked right into someones emotional pain body and it shut me down-took me right out! It wasn’t until I was completely out of-and still not through the physical that I realized what it was! Whew!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your healing process Debra and embodying compassion in the process both for yourself and for him. The wisdom hurt people hurt people had been so helpful for me in my life and being grounded in compassion allows me to not take things personally as often, stay open hearted and set healthy boundaries for myself. I am grateful for your openness is sharing about this important topic Debra! Thank you!

  6. Thanks for your comments, Kelley. I love the 4 Agreements, and especially the one that says, “Don’t take things personally.” Not always easy, but very good. Nice to be in like-minded company!

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