I have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant.
And for the most part, I have no idea what’s it like to have cancer, or to have my parents die in front of me.
Perhaps the worst thing we can say to someone in that moment is the truth. Our truth, that “everything is going to be okay.” Because it is not okay, at least not for them.
In that moment of an instance, our good intentions can cause pain and suffering. And what’s worse? We’ve closed the door to actually allowing someone to ask for help and making it difficult for us to learn what they might actually need.
We’re not wired to walk in someone else’s shoes. It’s not our first instinct. So when we extend our heart and our feelings to another, when we imagine what it must be like to be them, we expose ourselves to risk. The risk of feeling bruised, or of losing our ability to see the world from just one certain point of view.
It’s easier to walk on by, to compartmentalise, and to isolate ourselves.
Or we can begin with this… “I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine how it’s like for you and it must be really difficult. I just want to let you know that I’m here. I am here for you.”
Show up with our presence and empathy, keeping our judgement and clever solutions to ourselves.
Pray that one day they will come to terms with reality, a friend by their side. It’s difficult, but it’s precisely what someone might need from you.