Over the last month since I started paying more attention to posting videos on youtube and updating my blog. It has changed the quality of the conversations I have been having. Due to the beauty of social media, old friends and some strangers have contacted me. It has humbled me in ways that I can not even begin to describe. Although most of the things I post are hard for me to do because they seem extremely personal and unique, I am finding the contrary to be true.

Although we all come from different backgrounds, there are a few things that we all still share. Barring any disability things like hunger, pain, sadness and attraction to name a few are common themes in all our lives. I will call them universal feelings even though there are a few definitions of that term. From my observation I would then say that the unfortunate bit is that many of these universal feelings are not talked about. Don’t get me wrong many times you may hear someone say “I feel happy about …” or “… was really painful”. What I am talking about is talking about the emotion itself. How I experience happiness or pain will be different from how you experience it but two or more people can bond over the shared description of the sensation.

Why is this important?

It seems as if each of us understand the literary definition of universal feelings but experience them differently. Let’s take this hypothetical case. Let’s look at sharpening a pencil. It may be a happy event for one person because it reminds them of highschool art class while it could be traumatic for another person because they once got stabbed by mistake with a sharp pencil. If these two people then discuss sharp pencils their feelings would be on opposite poles. By then discussing this topic, they can learn a great deal about a sensation they are not privy to.

Let me now link this hypothetical to depression. Last week I was discussing with a friend who occasionally gets depressed. We were both in shock at how the same event evoked only positive emotions in her and only negative emotions in me. We were then attempting to dig deeper to see where the fundamental difference in views originated from. Through that conversation we were able to learn that for the two of us, the same literary definition evoked opposite emotions in us. How powerful is that?

I am not sure how this information would be useful but till then, I will continue to have such conversations.