In the last week this topic has come up several times so I thought it was a bit of a sign to write a post about it.
During times when someone is experiencing emotional pain I often hear people say as a form of reassurance ‘there are people worse off in the world’. Whilst to the eye this may be true does it make the pain they feel any less real? Does it help that person deal with their pain? Could it actually make their pain worse because they are being encouraged to not acknowledge their pain as important?
All humans feel the same feelings and emotions. What triggers these may all be different because our souls are all unique, but the machine that carries us is the same. If someone is feeling pain then they are feeling pain. It is not for us to judge whether or not they have the right to feel that pain. Knowing that someone else in the world is suffering ‘more’ is not going to ease our suffering. It will not ease the suffering of that person elsewhere in the world either. I am not saying we should dramatise our problems or dwell upon things, simply that pain is pain, it feels the same to each of us no matter what the capacity is. It is not nice and when someone is in pain we should empathise.
The other thing I hear people say to comfort those that are experiencing pain is ‘don’t worry you will be ok.’ While this is kindly reassuring it avoids the problem at the present time. It would be better to say this after listening to someone’s worries or troubles and after you have given them some advice or reassurance about their current situation otherwise it can sound dismissive.
We have to start taking each other more seriously and stop judging. Don’t compare people’s problems to other’s. Be there and listen. Just as you would want someone to do the same for you and likewise make sure you do the same for yourself.
‘Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.’ Guatama Buddha.