Reading Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” she quotes Brene Brown

” ​In a 2011 study funded by there National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that, as far as the brain is concerned, physical pain and intense experiences of social rejection, hurt in the same way… Neuroscience advances confirm what we have known all along: emotions can hurt and cause pain. Shame is particularly hard because it hates having words wrapped around it. It hates being spoken.”

The powerful phrase for me is ” intense experiences of social rejection, hurt in the same way”. Our brains register exclusion as pain, just like physical pain. I can feel intense pain by not being included, not being valued, not being recognized.

So many in our society must be living with the aches and bruises of not being seen, invited, or cared for as a person. The homeless, seniors, new immigrants, sexual minorities and others are on the outside looking in. If you knew that you were breaking their hearts and inflicting pain by not acknowledging them as valuable, would you change your behaviour?

For me the answer is a resounding ‘ yes, if I my simple recognition of their humanity can have such a profound impact – I’m in’. Saying “Hello” and asking with interest and sincerity “How are you?” is a small investment of time that may have a big return for both of us. Are you up to another ‘easy to say, harder to do’ challenge? Reach out to a coworkers who is on the outside of social circles, and reach out to someone living on the street that you have seen in your peripheral but never seen face to face. See what happens. Let us know how you do.

Make Today Remarkable, for someone feeling pain,


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