Monday, February 14, 2011

"I know how you feel."

Is that not one of the most annoying things a person can tell you? It honestly does not matter what is going on in your life or how bad you are feeling in that moment, someone will always "know how you feel." But, in reality, those people NEVER know how you feel.

And you just want to grab some duct tape, close their mouths, and tie them to chairs to make them shut up.

Sound familiar?

It doesn't make much sense. You could have just been diagnosed with cancer, lost your home, dealt with a sick parent, and found out your job was in jeopardy. But do these people really care? Nope! There will always be someone there who will decide to compare his own life with yours and decide his is worse and, thus, just HAVE to share it with you. "Oh, yeah. I know how you feel! I lost my puppy last was just like this." I mean, do people seriously think before they talk?

And why in the world do people want to compete with you for position of "worst life" or "worst experience?" You would think it would be more fun to know you haven't experienced that and have been blessed with a wonderful life. You'd think people would enjoy looking at the positive elements of their lives more. Wouldn't you think that?!
No? Alright. Maybe it's just me.

AND, rewinding a little bit here: Even if this other person's house was bombed and then his dog and 16 children were eaten by a sea monster, is it really going to make you feel better at that moment? No...but it might make you feel worse (yay)! And, STILL, does that person really know how you feel? No. Of course not.

No one will ever know how you feel. Ever. Because everyone has different experiences. And even if two people have the exact same experience, they will always interpret that experience in two different ways...perhaps similarly, perhaps not.

You don't want to hear other people's long, drawn-out stories of their own personal misery?
You don't want people to tell you they "know how you feel" when they obviously don't know?
You don't want any of this? At all? Are you sure? Really?
Too bad...'cause you'll get it anyway.

I wish more people would understand the concept of listening. Sometimes people do not want to hear your irrelevant stories that have nothing to do with their lives that are crashing and burning as they wince in pain. Sometimes people just need someone who will listen to them and love on them and show them that they have people surrounding them who love them, care for them, and will be there through those difficult times...even though they DON'T understand.

Sometimes admitting you don't understand the person's situation but loving them anyway, simply knowing you have felt hurt or scared or distressed in some form or fashion in the past...and knowing you needed the same a better option.

Disclaimer: This is not to discredit the beauty of support groups and things of that nature. Totally different thing. I know those are actually quite helpful for people. But even then, people all come with different backgrounds and stories and experiences.

It is, of course, nice to know that we are not alone. It is nice to know there are others out there who have been where we have been and can get us through the same way they got through...but there is a line. A line between helping and boasting. A line between appropriate timing and just not thinking before speaking. A very definitive line sometimes that people just choose to ignore.