CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
How to Show Love
To the Broken
By Desirae Tucker
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I wrote before about trusting God while being broken, but I have a lot of people ask me how they can help me or what I need from them. I decided that this is probably something that many people would benefit from knowing. So for what it's worth, here are a few things that you, a non-broken, can do for those of us who are.
Don't Compare My Pain with Your Own
The thing I really have a hard time with is the people who compare pain. "My pain is nothing compared to yours." "I can't complain after hearing what you've gone through." I spent many years not telling anyone what I was going through because I hated feeling as if I was one-upping or complaining about my life. Something that pain has taught me is that even a little bit can ruin the day. I don't need you to have the same pain, or even pain in the same way that I do, for us to have something in common.
Think about it this way. You and I have both been to India. You went to cities up north while I went to cities down south. You were there for a week; however, I've spent months within those borders. You flew into New Delhi and I flew through Mumbai. You were there on vacation and I spent my time there for missions. So here's the thing, we have two very different experiences in this country. Does that mean that there aren't similarities?
No matter what part of India you go to, the drivers are all crazy, the food uses the same spices, and the people for the most part look and dress the same. You will find the same caste system, languages, the same religions and culture. The specifics of each trip may be different, but these things we can relate with each other. You would have eaten curry, seen women dressed in saris, and been certain that your life would end in Indian traffic.
Pain is the same. You may not have dealt with the pain exactly the same way that I have, but you have felt pain at some point in your life. You may not have dealt with pain in the exact area or even the same kind of pain (physical vs emotional), but you have felt it. You may have only dealt with pain for a few weeks instead of a few years. You have still felt pain. Pain is pain no matter the parameters.
Empathy doesn't have to be exact, you just have to be willing to relate. When you shut down the conversation by assuming that you have nothing to offer, you shut down any chance we have of finding things in common and the possibility of a close friendship. This afternoon, I was talking to a friend and she made a comment that she had a running injury and knew what I meant when I said that sometimes you choose your shoes then your outfit based on how much pain you're in. She has talked about not understanding my chronic pain, but in that moment there was something that we could talk about and relate to. She could empathize with me.
So all of this to say. Minimizing your own pain doesn't help anything. It makes me feel bad, makes you feel bad, and messes with relationships. Your pain is just as valid and mine, you are worth having someone listen to your struggles simply because you're struggling. If you are willing to talk to me about your struggles, you can encourage me in mine. You may have a revelation that can help me in my journey. Everyone is broken; help me through my brokenness and maybe I can help you through yours.
Please Keep Inviting Me
How many times have you invited your broken friend to an event or hangout to have them decline? How many times do you continue to invite them before it's just time to move on? I promise this issue is just as hard on the broken as the non. I don't like spending most nights at home alone, or watching my friends post on Facebook all about the wonderful time they all had together at the movies or out to dinner. Feeling forgotten adds to the pain. The problem is that I just can't sometimes...well a lot of the time.
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Published on 4-17-17