A friend posts something they experience on Facebook and everyone jumps in tossing down their two cent blows like a boxing match. But do you truly know how this other person feels on the inside or what they have gone through? The answer will always be no and if you think it's anything different, you have some learning to do about life.
What most people fail to realize is that each person is unique in how they feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and so on. This is largely based upon the fact that everyone's lives (what they've gone through) and physical limitations (or lack thereof) vary extremely from one person to the next.
Even if you've experienced similar things with someone, you're not that person. You may be able to listen, empathize, and even share experiences. However, don't presume that just because you have a similar experience, that experience or the attached feelings and effects are always the same.
Say a gay man is feeling down about the way a friend has treated him since he came out. If you're a gay man or a lesbian woman (or in any other group people may mistreat), you may be able to sympathize with this man, comfort him, or share experiences.
However, you should never assume what he feels or how he should react because you don't know what he's been through or how he feels on the inside. Some people may be able to just shake it off and move on. If that works for them, awesome. But it may not work for another person, for whatever reason. Don't assume they're being difficult or they need to get over it.
Listen and learn why this made them so upset. Maybe the person ridiculing them is the one who needs to learn something. Again, it's more about each unique person than it is about how you dealt with your own situation. Your story may help but the way you deal with things is only one way and may not work for everyone.
When I was pregnant with my 4th child, it was very risky and after a certain point, I was ordered to be on bed rest for the remainder of that pregnancy. Someone actually told me that it wasn't hard to be pregnant and I should get my lazy ass back to work and suck it up.
Thing is, that person not only had no right to judge, but they also had no clue how hard I was struggling on the inside about not being able to work or how hard it was for me to do anything at all. I had three prior pregnancies and two of those were fairly easy. My body would not let me work this time and neither would my doctor.
It took all my strength to walk my kids to school and then later even more to homeschool them, due to problems with the school being behind in academics. Even with taking it as easy as possible, my son was born early at only 34 and a half weeks gestation, with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
Prior to the birth, I had true false labor more than once, as well as issues with severe pain (I have a high pain tolerance, so it was bad), severe morning sickness, and so on. I also have a heart condition, fatigue, a digestive condition, and three nerve conditions. All of them affect me more severely than usual during pregnancy.
My son turned out fine. However, can you imagine if I had let that judging person influence what I did? He may not be here today or may have been affected severely and possibly I could have been as well. Just because you have been pregnant before doesn't mean you know everything about everyone else's pregnancy.
All bodies react differently. Think before you speak and make sure you're mindful of what others may be experiencing. Sharing pregnancy stories is fun, but telling others how to live their lives based on yours is wrong.
Before you judge how other people are feeling, remember that no one truly knows what others feel or experience unless they're that person. The next time you're talking to someone about anything that is serious to them, remember that even if you've been "there", you truly haven't. Once you realize that, it will be much easier to get along with people.
Listen, but don't judge. Empathize, but don't assume. Share, but don't ridicule. Learn, but don't apply the material to all others with the same situation or label. We're all different but we can all help each other grow by being more understanding.
This journal may be NSFW at times. NOT for children's eyes.
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I'm a workaholic, work at home mom who educationally rants about life, causes, and random stuff.
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Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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