Most cannot fathom being in circumstances outside of their own. Whenever there is turmoil or hard times in a person’s life they tend to feel isolated and that there is no one else who could possibly be going through the same circumstance. Either a feeling of loneliness or complete disregard is the usual result from harsh situations by people that choose to live in an individualistic mentality. It is easy to make oneself the center of all things, while considering others first and foremost takes much more inner strength and internal evaluation. Not to say that feeling a certain way about the occurrences of life is wrong, it is more so just a sign of internal growth to recognize the connection in humanity and to give others the opportunity to live in that moment with you.
The Steps Toward Progress Sleepout helped participants understand that life is the same for everyone because every human being is living in the same exact state of finitude. The only thing that separates anyone is the timing and intensity of circumstance and that is the inspiration behind the campaign slogan: “What separates us…is circumstance.” Individuals who directly participated or simply walked by and observed the sleep out began to consider an alternate lifestyle that they were not previously concerned with throughout their daily routine.
Experiencing the actual circumstances of the homeless forces you to remember that your life is not just yours but is also connected to everyone else’s. Just because any one circumstance is not being lived at any one time does not qualify a person to be indifferent or not understanding of the circumstances others are experiencing. Participants of the sleep out experienced a very short time period of having to sleep outside while desiring to go home. The weather was somewhat chilly but nowhere near freezing temperatures. There were points when some participants stated “I could never be homeless” meaning they could not fathom dealing with related circumstances in an extended period of time. It just goes to show that one should never feel that life is as hard as it seems. Yes, it could always be worse but actually the way to think of it is that one ought to appreciate the circumstances you are in and have a mind of compassion. Consider that the hardships of your fellow man are your hardships because they very well could be. Everything that affects everyone consequently affects everyone else. We are all connected. The ONLY thing that separates us…is circumstances.