2985652951_33d6bde191Sometimes we think that we’re the only ones going through pain and suffering, when in reality that’s not the case.

Or we believe that we’re the ones who have gone through the most pain and suffering. Some do face struggles that are much harder than is their lot to bear, like the Biblical Job. But to believe that we, out of many, have suffered the most out of all the people we know, is wrong. I know. I do it all the time.

Someone tells us about what struggles they’re going through and we respond with “oh, I had it much harder.” That’s a wrong response.

Because you really don’t know that you had it much harder than them. What your hardest struggle may be would be very different from another’s hardest struggle. So to say that your struggle was much harder than theirs is invalidating their circumstances, and in effect you reveal to them that you are not really listening to them, but taking what they say and comparing it to what you went through.

2935433752_564da3e69eEspecially when you come up with a conclusion about their circumstances based on that bias “Oh, I had it much harder than you.” and then taking it and forcing it on them. For instance, when someone tells you about a difficult circumstance, and then you reply with a story of how hard you had it in life, as well as how they should just suck it up and move on, because what they went through wasn’t as bad as what you went through.

Not only that, what they need at that moment is not you talking about yourself, but listening to what they have to say, and offering companionship and support. There’s a time for sharing what you went through, and there’s a time to listen.

So please, when someone is sharing a struggle that they’re going through, please listen to them. Do not say that you had a much harder struggle. Just listen. Be there for them. Don’t assume that you have suffered more than any other person, even if it might be true. Just listen.

Just listen.