Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Story

*****Picture credit Bits of Truth

Recently, an old friend from college days emailed me and suggested that maybe I didn't appreciate what I had in my life. This wasn't a random email. We have been emailing back and forth and this is completely out of context. But it got me thinking. I have just finished reading I Am Malala. Certainly, I don't appreciate being able to turn on the faucet and get fresh water. I don't appreciate medical care available to me, or grocery stores or cars or schools. I take them all for granted. But my friend came down a little hard on me.
We've been out of touch for 22 years and he has no idea what has transpired in those years. Most people that know me don't know. In fact, there are only 4 people that know. Five if you count the one that's dead. But I don't.

It did get me thinking though about how judgmental we are of each other when we think our own stories are so much worse than the other person's. How do we know. And why is any one person's story worse than another's. Is it a competition? "Hey my childhood was worse than yours so I get to ...." What? Be more judgmental as an adult? Have a worse life as an adult? Fail as an adult? The truth is, we all experience things differently and one person's worst day might be mild to another. A bad day is a bad day, it doesn't matter what happened or to what degree. When someone shares, "I had a crap day," listen to them.

It's like pain. We don't all react to physical pain in the same way. I have one son that would want to go to the hospital for a splinter when he was young. The other son could have a toe nail hanging off and be bleeding through the house and not even know he was hurt. It's the same with trauma, painful things we have endured, trials by fire. We need to have more compassion for each other. What do we get out of judging each other?
Does it make you feel good? Not me. The next time you want to tell someone your story when they are sharing theirs, STOP. Listen to them. Just listen to what they are saying. They don't want you to solve their story. They just want to be heard. Don't judge. Don't share. Just listen. And when they are done with their story, if you can think of nothing else to say, tell them, "I hear what you're saying." Be a listener for a while and you'll be amazed at what you learn.

So my story? Stop. Listen. I'm sure you can hear it in the words I don't say.

Practice listening and compassion. I hear you. I care. It's what we all want to know. That we are not alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment