Everyone you see has their own story. Each person has a unique tapestry of experience, belief, choice, and coincidence that’s lead to them being who and how they are. So from one angle we are all utterly unique. No two people could possibly come out the same. Even identical twins who spent every day together, saw the world through slightly different angles and came to slightly different conclusions about it.
On the other hand the basic frame that all of those unique narratives are hung on is essentially the same. We are all built out of the same four chemicals of DNA’s code. We all live for a time and then that time ends. We are all uncertain of when that time will end. We all want things. We all suffer. We are all thrown into this confusion and have to make sense of it for ourselves.
So hold this in your mind, we are all the same and we are all unique. There is no contradiction. These can give rise to two of the most important human attributes, compassion and curiousity. Compassion in our awareness of what we share, especially the commonality of our suffering. And curiousity to learn of and from one another stories. For when we learn from each other’s experiences and viewpoints it does not diminish us but rather enriches us.
When we enshrine these two attitudes as our approach to others in our day to day life, it gives us a powerful frame to cope with difficulties, help other, and enjoy our own existences. There is something very comforting in remember we are not alone in our suffering. Reaching out to others in that vein is comforting to them and deeply satisfying for us. The same can be said for listening to others’ stories, it is engaging and enriching for us and deeply validating for them.