On Empathizing With Others

I'm sure mostly everyone has seen the quote:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle"
- John Watson

I think it's a good reminder that we should ALWAYS BE KIND. We don't know someone's circumstances. We don't even know exactly how someone's day went. So be kind. Everyone is going through something, big or small. Life changing or just day changing. Yourself included. So be kind. Which leads me to this...

About a week ago, my friend share a blog post on facebook about the hardness of being a stay at home parent, along with her own words on it being what she needed to hear right now. Most of the comments back to her were very encouraging. But there is always that one. It started with, "a little perspective for you..." Now we all need a dose of perspective from time to time. But it generally is not helpful or will be well received when we are feeling a bit down in the dumps. I'm pretty sure we all know it's not nice to kick someone when they are down and I am pretty sure a dose of perspective counts as a kick.

There will always be someone out there worse off than us. I am pretty sure we all know this. But even knowing that doesn't make our circumstances any easier. When you've been punched in the face by your toddler throwing a tantrum in public, being reminded that there are so many women out there that wish for a child doesn't make the humiliation and frustration any easier. When you receive a bad report from the doctor, being reminded that someone else is losing their loved one to an even worse illness doesn't make your diagnosis any less scary. All that to say, when someone is baring their soul, don't use it as a time to give them some perspective. Perspective isn't always needed and if it is, gently give it to someone another time, not in the heat of the moment, so as to not kick them when they are down.

In the bible, Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He didn't say "come to me only those I deem burdened" and he didn't say "come to me only the worst of the worst". He said, "Come to me, ALL..." All. That is the key word. Every single last one of us who are weary, He wants to give rest.

So the next time someone bares their soul to you, be it in real life or social media, instead of offering a little perspective, try offering a hug an and encouraging word. Kindness is never wrong, in any situation. And kindness ALWAYS HELPS.

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