The word commiserate comes from Latin: “Com-” meaning with + “miserari” meaning to lament (from “miser” which means wretched).
We have a habit of commiserating. We respond to others’ disconnected, low-buzz state by disconnecting ourselves. When someone is miserable, we join them. If we don’t, they get more miserable. If we do, then we are miserable, too.
Yet no amount of co-misery can help anyone, ever.
Far better for us to remain plugged in and maintaining a high buzz. Only then do we have the resources to help them.
Feel good, then act. Stay connected, then help.
In your corner,
P.S. Yes, this applies at work. Office politics, project stress, and other stresses tell us our workplaces have lots of co-misery.
P.P.S. Co-misery doesn’t mean we have the same misery. Their form and our form may be the same or different. One may be angry and the other protective. One may be distant and the other in-your-face. Co-misery only says we are feeding off each others’ unplugged, low-buzz negativity.