More harm than good

Hey there. Yeah, it’s me again. It’s been awhile, huh? Well, a lot has been going on, and writing just hasn’t really been a priority.

Without going into details, because they’re not really mine to share with everyone on the internet, suffice it to say that a situation very close to me has been going down over a long period of time. Not only does the drama seem to never let up, it seems to be escalating.

Here’s what I’d like to share about this. It’s something of which I’ve been guilty, and I’d dare say we all have at one time or another. It comes down to the cliches we all tend to say when people are going through life crises. When someone loses a loved one, we instinctively say, “they’re in a better place,” or “I know how you feel”. When you’re going through something difficult, these cliches can be frustrating, though they are well intended.

When someone is going through a situation that is very difficult, well-meaning people have a tendency to say something like, “it could be worse”. Of course this is true, but nevertheless, what the person is going through is significant to them. The well-intentioned friend is attempting to put things in perspective by inadvertently minimizing the significance the matter holds in the person’s life. Most often, this is because the friend does not know the extent of the problems and how deeply they go.

Despite the magnitude of things I’m seeing going down near me, I do consider the tragedies and difficulties in the world around me. From the uprising in Egypt, to the recent violence in Placerville. The shooting at the school was especially close to home for me because, just over a month ago, I was in that very office where the the principal was gunned down.

We should all be aware that somewhere in the world, someone is going through something more difficult than we are. However, that is not comforting. We all have much to be grateful for. We have the air in our lungs. We live in a great country. We are blessed. But life brings challenges which feel like a huge beat down when you’re going through it.

The bottom line is, if you know someone who is going through a very difficult time, be careful when offering support so that you don’t accidentally reduce the value of the pain they’re enduring. It’s very real to them. We have the instinctive desire to fix things, so that’s why we try to offer comforting words. Or at least what we think should be comforting. But more often than not, we can’t fix it. The best thing we can do is simply offer our support. We can invest in them with our friendship, our time and our prayers. It’s OK not to have the answers. It’s OK to not be able to fix it. You’re off the hook.

Just be a friend.

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