Want to know how you can really show love to someone? Listen to them. Hear their stories. Once someone trusts you enough to share with you their harrowing tales, honor that with good listening ears. Don’t say… “You think that’s bad, wait till you hear this!” “I don’t get why this upset you.” “You need to grow some balls.” “Have your prayed about it?” “It could’ve been worse.” “Shouldn’t you be over that by now?” No. Did you know pain differs from person to person. Some people have a higher pain threshold than others. When you’re in emergency and they ask you, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how great is the pain?”, they’re not asking, “Compared to me, how great is your pain?” or “Compared to a gorilla, how great is your pain?” They’re asking you how great the pain is to you. There are all kinds of mechanisms that enter in when we’re dealing with the invisible pain of traumatic events.
Maybe we forget faster.
Maybe we get over things faster.
Maybe we forgive faster. Maybe we heal faster.
Or maybe not. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is if you’re still feeling the pain or not. I remember sharing a very painful memory with a counselor. I felt silly sharing it because when I was speaking it sounded like nothing. But she took it seriously. She helped me realize that that little event was a symptom of a deeper issue that was at work in my life and needed to be taken seriously. Then I could start to heal. When someone is sharing their painful story with you, just listen without judgment or a solution. Just listen. Don’t fix them.