"Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to "me" alone." -Dr. Kristin Neff, author of "The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook"

We are all interconnected in the human experience. All of us experience difficulties from time to time, but oftentimes we think that our difficulties only apply to us. The impression that we are worse off than others--whether true or not--can isolate us from other people who could have similar experiences and offer us meaningful connection in the hard times.

If you've had problems in finding a romantic partner, for instance, it's easy to look at all the happy couples around you and think you're alone — or that you are simply out of luck in that arena. You could think you're simply not cut out for a relationship, or that it'll never happen for you. Most people who end up in healthy and happy relationships do go through similar periods of their lives when it seems like they'll never find someone. Remind yourself that you're not alone, and talk to others who have had similar experiences in the past.

If you've felt inadequate in your academic courses, like none of the material makes sense, it's easy to think that the reason is because "I'm not meant to be here or I'm too stupid for this university." In all likelihood, however, most other people in your class are having similar reactions to the material. Almost all of us reach a point in the semester where we question everything we thought about ourselves and think that we're lesser than other students. We all suffer and doubt ourselves.

Keep in mind that as humans, we're all in the same boat. There are near-universal experiences that cause us to suffer — you're not special in terms of these experiences. You're not special because you suffer, and you're not special if you're okay either. I've seen so many people in the depths of despair believe their experiences are special and, therefore, are death sentences. That includes me at certain points. Sure, we all have individualistic difficulties, but experiences of broken hearts, depression, physical ailments, failures, embarrassments, etc. are wide and vast across all time and humanity.

Instead of beating yourself up over life's difficulties, acknowledge that you aren't the first one to encounter this issue and that others have overcome this same issue. Instead of isolating yourself in times of distress, reach out and connect with others: even if you're not ready to talk about what's been going on, it can be helpful to spend some quality time with friends and family. You're not special here. Odds are that thousands or millions of people have had your same issue, and that thousands or millions of people have found a way out. I know that it sucks, but have faith in the ancient adage: "change is the only constant in life."