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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Let Me Be Me And I'll Let You Be You

There's no way any of us can escape pain in life. I'm not sure of much, but I am sure all of us share this reality.

In the spirit of that universal truth, I recently landed on something that helps me better cope with my pain and assists me when I begin judging how others react to a painful situation. Let me be me and I'll let you be you. I offer this simple formulation with the sincere hope it might be of use when someone you know is in pain and you want to help. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are that caused the pain. Nor is it of any consequence the form that pain takes in the person you want to help. The person might be angry, in denial, sad, or something else. Let them be them while you be you.   

When another person is in pain, empathic listening can frequently be helpful. But not everyone has that skill. Minimizing or trying to fix or explain away someone else's pain - often because it doesn't show up like your own - is downright unhelpful. Why not just agree your way of dealing with pain is no more helpful to me than my way of dealing with pain is to you?     


6 comments:

  1. Oh how true that we each deal with pain, loss or sadness in different ways. I experienced this with my brother's suicide, my mother's stroke/passing, my sister's cancer diagnosis/passing. Oy. So many feelings, many family/friends expressing their feelings. Truly as any Grief Counselor will tell us: there is no "right way" to grieve or mourn a loss or change. The only Truth I will share is this: immediately reach out to someone who you know who has experienced a loss. The old school "oh they don't want to be bothered" or "too busy" or "we don't wont' to intrude" are all outdated idea. My experience has been: each and every person who called/wrote/texted/emailed they were thinking about me during a terrible time MEANS SO MUCH. That is why to this day I immediately contact someone who is going thru a difficult time. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM OTHERS even if we don't respond. Anyway, that is my take-away from experience a lot of loss these last 10 years.

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    1. Unknown; Thank for the comment and for being so honest relating your experiences, especially considering what you've endured. And I certainly agree that outreach from others can mean so much.

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  2. Great wisdom! I will remember this....

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    1. Ines; Thanks for the feedback; glad you find this useful.

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  3. Hello Pat. I find that it's so difficult at times to try to do what you're suggesting. Don't get me wrong .. I agree with it 100%. But there is that frustration that sets in - and in these situations it is such an inappropriate time - when you want to help but the person doesn't want to listen. But it all circles back to what you're saying ... Just because I may have suffered a similar loss, or a similar pain, doesn't mean that we're the same and how I handle something has to be the correct way .. the be all/end all way. Your last sentence covers it very well. Thanks for simplifying it.
    Be well,
    Bob

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    1. Bob; Thanks for comment. I agree that my formulation can be very difficult especially when you're watching someone deal with their pain in ways that seem counter-intuitive to you. This has been a hard-earned lesson for me over these last seven months. Glad the final sentence brought some focus to you.

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