I’ll start off with the disclaimer, that yes, I am well aware of how blessed I am and how millions out there are suffering and have barely 10% of what I have and yet are making ends meet, which basically means that I shouldn’t even be complaining. But here is the thing, I am not saying that my life is worse than theirs, I am not claiming to have the worst life on this planet, I am not denying the fact that indeed I am blessed. All I am saying is that my life is not easy, it’s as simple as that. This isn’t a contest to see who has the worst livelihood out there. No, this is me talking about the pain in my heart & soul. I’m also aware that it’s just not me alone, that there are many out there going through the same plight as me & are unable to openly express their emotions because there’s always someone in the vicinity, ready to pounce upon them with the good old “others have it worse” statement. Let me ask you this, why is it so very necessary to compare the levels of misery each one goes through and invalidate someone’s agony whilst approving of another’s? Pain is pain, regardless of the magnitude, and that’s the end of it.
The pain I go through is never visible and I’m not talking about my mental health alone. I do have physical, crippling pains that are invisible to the naked eye because since the age of 3, I’ve trained myself to walk with a smile on my face, even when it felt like my legs were going to explode in pain or when it felt like my spine was going to collapse upon itself. It’s pretty much impossible to explain something to someone if they cannot see it, right? That’s what we all assume about pain. But then tell me, is love an actual visible emotion that can be physically held by someone? No. Everyone talks about feeling the love, about seeing it in someone’s eyes, about sensing the chemistry in the air and pretty much every romantic notion about love is about experiencing it, noticing it in one’s attitude & actions and it’s never actually mentioned as something that can be seen with the naked eye but rather always as something that’s felt with one’s heart. So why isn’t this same theory applied to pain? That’s the thing, it is applied, it is very much obvious, you can see pain in one’s eyes, you can sense it in their vibes, you can detect it in their voice, in their behaviour, and there is literally a hundred million signals around someone going through pain, and it’s visible to all of us. But the only difference is that we refuse to acknowledge the existence of this pain because that would mean we’d have to be kind, we’d have to express sympathy, we’d have to practise the art of empathy and that’s just too much work, isn’t it? Because at the end of the day, we all are embroiled in our own little affairs and nobody has the time or energy to be there for someone else because you’re too busy trying to stay afloat.
It’s a paradox, isn’t it? We know and understand the essence of pain way more than we understand the meaning of love and yet, it is this very same pain that we choose to ignore. Maybe it’s in our nature to turn a blind eye to the warning signs of another’s misery and focus on all the blessings they have because it does give us the false notion of hope that someday you can be as rich or successful as that person is. Or maybe we as humans are inherently merely selfish and all we care about is ourselves. Or maybe we are not as kind as we think we are. There are a multitude of reasons as to why we choose to dismiss one’s anguish and validate another’s. But none of that matters. You have your own reasons and it’s completely fine for you to not go out of your way to help someone. But what is not okay is for you to go out of your way to make someone feel like a liar or an attention seeker for speaking out loud about the pain they are in. You don’t how to help, that’s fine. But don’t say something harsh or utter something in your state of ignorance that could potentially end up pushing that person further down the drain of pain.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, you might assume someone has to easy simply because of the way they present themselves to the outside world and they actually may or may not have it easy. But at the end of the day, every single one of us have a little box of pain tucked away safely in some nook or cranny of our hearts. Some of us choose to talk about it and some of us don’t. But if someone does openly express the despair they are in, never ever invalidate their pain. It’s okay if you don’t know how to help, just be kind to them, just lend them a shoulder to cry upon or direct them towards a source you know can help them out. But never ever go around telling them about how blessed they are or how ungrateful they sound right now or about how they’re simply choosing to focus on their pain and ignoring everything good in their life, or the worst statement of all, “you’re being dramatic, nothing is wrong with you”. Just. Please. Don’t.
Based on personal experience, 7 out of 10 days, when I wake up, I am barely functional and it takes a lot for me to go out into the world and try my best to act and be as normal as possible, even when everything is deteriorating and falling apart inside my body and soul. Many people around me have noticed this pain and they all have chosen to either ignore it or say something sarcastic about it and have done nothing to help me in any way and that has hurt me in inexplicable ways. Don’t be this kind of person. If you notice someone in pain, even a simple “are you okay” or “do you need some help” makes a world of difference because one, it makes the person feel seen, feel visible, two, if it’s got to the point that the signs are blazingly visible, then subconsciously their body is screaming out “help” to the world and two minutes of your time would help them immensely. Yes, there is a risk that you may end up offending someone by offering help, but at least you’ll know that you tried to help and at the end of the day, that would be your good deed of the day.
Basically, just be kind. It honestly does not cost you anything to be nice and if you are incapable of being nice because of a bad day you’re going through or due to some other dark or terrible reason in your life, I am confident you can still avoid being mean or rude.