Loss is relevant to everybody. Every one of us has experienced loss in some form. Whether it be the laying off of a job, the death of a friend, the death of a family member, dropped communication with someone we love, losing valuable possessions, and on and on. We all experience loss differently. Based on what is important to us in our lives, that determines the level of hurt and the depth of pain that comes with our loss.
The reality. No one will understand exactly what you are dealing with, but a lot of people will try and sympathize based on what they have lost that is close to the depth you are experiencing.
The problem with this.. is that people try and relate, thinking that it sympathizes at the same level, when they don’t ever really understand the pain that you are feeling.
A lot of times people remember a past experience that they have dealt with, and even though they know that it was painful, they either 1) don’t want to bring up the pain that they felt, or 2) think that because they got through it, so will you. This sometimes creates the emotions in them that you are already fine and therefore don’t need the attention and help that you really do need. Or heaven help us, they give you the advice of things that helped them, without acknowledging the fact that your situation is completely different (and for the love of all things good, everyone’s emotions and feelings are all the same, RIGHT??!?!…) As a result of this, we have broken people who never get true healing and starve for affection in all the wrong places just to fill a hole that was never properly filled.
This. isn’t. everyone. I’m not stating that I know every human being and that this world is awful. Not what I’m saying. From my personal experience and spending time with hurting humans, this is the reaction people give a lot of times when someone is dealing with loss.
Hurting people are not broken people. Why do we always think that they are?! Get out of your bubble, take off your tainted lenses, and come to every person believing that they are great, loving, fun people who just happen to be in a difficult place. We all go through them, and we all need people walking through them with us.
So what can you do?
Learn to serve people. Turn off part of your brain for 5 minutes (trust me, you can do it, I believe in you) as you talk to people who are in pain, and listen to their story without already creating the situation in your own mind. Hurting people need to be heard. Let them know you are listening. And no, you don’t need to tell them your life story afterwards to make them feel like they’re not alone. This often times makes them feel like you are saying your life has been just as hard and trust me, that’s not what they need.
Give them your time and affection and show them that you care before they even ask for it, and learn how to love people specifically to how they receive it. (It never hurts to ask)
Most importantly, just be wise.