It is easy to judge another or think we know how someone else is feeling. However, usually we don’t know what it is like to walk in another’s shoes until we experience certain situations ourselves. Therefore, offering platitudes or making judgments about someone’s coping abilities is not the most helpful response. However, offering a nonjudgmental listening space can work wonders when someone is struggling.
This point was driven home to me this past weekend, when I received a phone call from two different friends who were experiencing some situations that I had gone through several years ago. The calls were so affirming and proved how we don’t fully understand something until it personally happens to us. Fortunately, our experiences can turn into gifts for others who encounter the same situations we do.
For example, one friend called to say that she now knows what it is like to have severe…
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