Minimizing Pain

I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a bit. Not only do I think we shouldn’t minimize other people’s pain, but I think it is so important that we don’t minimize our own pain. I was talking with two people about a month ago and one person said to the other person “did you tell her (this)”. And I said no. And the person basically said that I went through something “harder” and they didn’t want to tell me about something similar that they were going through because it “wasn’t as hard”. I then told the person that what they are going through is hard and just because they think that I went through something “harder” doesn’t mean that they should minimize or shouldn’t tell me what they are going through just because they think that someone is having a “harder time” then them. It’s still hard for them. (I should say that I’ve actually started calling people out on minimizing their pain so if I’m having a conversation with you and if you are minimizing your pain and I “catch” that you are doing it, I am going to say something.)
And over the past month I’ve been thinking about this, how often do we not tell people what we are going through because we don’t want to “burden them” with our problems (but Galatians 6:2 says to bear one another’s burdens) when they most likely have their own problems to deal with or we think that they are going/have gone through “something harder”? I was quite shocked when someone told me that was why they didn’t want to tell me. And let’s be honest, most people probably won’t say that. So now that we know, I think all of us have to do a better job of genuinely asking people about what’s going on in their life and not just asking as a greeting or to make conversation. If you’re on the other side, I would encourage you not to shy away from sharing about what you’re going through even if you don’t think it’s “as hard” as something else the person asking you has gone through. If someone’s genuinely asking and not just saying it as a greeting, we should want to give a genuine response so that the person asking can encourage or pray for you and check in on how things are going. And if you just say everything is fine, (when it’s not) the person who asked can still encourage and pray for you, but they can’t pray for the thing you are going through unless you tell them.
I know sometimes being vulnerable and opening up is hard, (and that there is a time and place,) but if people are genuinely asking about your life, then we should be willing to give a genuine response.

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