Are you comfortable talking about pain? Why is that? Is it helplessness, insensitivity, or something else? Humans tend to completely avoid or minimize conversations about pain with phrases like, “don’t be sad”, “well, at least…” or “you should be grateful for…” Responses such as these divert the conversation.They also fail to fully see the person in their moment of pain. These comments show lack of empathy and understanding. (Pay attention to what need is being met by that reaction. Doing so may meet a personal need for comfort and peace). I have done that more often than I care to admit. How about you?
The feeling of pain, whether physical or emotional, signifies that a need remains unmet. Avoiding the conversation means missing out on hearing the need. People usually express pain as a way of asking for help. If the ask is ignored, the person in pain may hide the pain or speak out louder. If the pain continues to be ignored, people find different ways to express it until the pain is acknowledged and the cause of the pain gets addressed.
Seeing someone in pain or hearing someone talk about their pain may feel uncomfortable. Imagine what it might be like for the person experiencing it. Whether or not a pain remedy may be easily found, we can all listen and acknowledge that the pain for the person experiencing it. Feeling heard may help take a bit of the sting away. Depending on the source of the pain, the person may need help or support in addressing it. It does not mean going around trying to take away everyone’s pain. It means showing up when we can and where we can to listen and offer support.