I just watched tear after tear queue up and then take sorrow's path to the smeared tiles below. After a few minutes he looked up and stared at me had through fierce eyes. Once he knew he could trust me he spoke uninterrupted for almost half an hour. His story was one of beatings, harassment, abandonment, forced marriage, daily threats and soul-piercing terror.
So last week I wrote about how to cope with other people's negative emotions. The following day, the Brexit result was announced. The result packed such a big emotional punch that even though I normally try to keep out of politics, I felt I had to write about it. Brexit shows how difficult it can be to remain compassionate and balanced in response to a slew of anger and hatred.
When I was growing up, my mother would torment me with words like 'balance' and 'moderation'. It just all seemed so boring at the time, but I guess the moral of the story is that she was (as per) quite right. It's good to feel scared occasionally, especially when it motivates action. But only when you can feel utterly unafraid later.
Many of us are thwarted by our inner voices, our anxieties and a fundamental lack of belief in ourselves. Our inner critic tells us that we are less accomplished or capable than others. We dismiss our achievements and confine ourselves to a false belief in our mediocrity. But somewhere inside, we know that our disappearing act no longer serves the world.
Three years down the line, I still continue to be haunted by my cancer. Like the background music to a movie it's always there, singing the trauma that I have endured. Approximately, two-thirds of women with a breast cancer diagnosis suffer PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and this can make them prone to anxiety and depression later.
Basically as you get older, you realise that you are not the only person in the world who worries about things. Everyone is riddled with insecurities, they just manifest them in different ways, or if they are really lucky, they have learned to overcome their difficulties (I recently re-read M Scott Peck's The Road Less Travelled and it was brilliant on this subject).