I really struggle with how competetive people seem to think life is.
The whole idea of pitting kids against each ther in school. development and achievements. The competivity between parents/carers of “oh, well ‘x’ was doing that by the age of ‘y’…”. These aren’t anything to do with ensuring your child gets credit for what they are doing. This is about the parents saying “check out my parenting skills”… “this is what I did…”. And this is bad enough, but when someone is struggling, rather than having empathy there seems to be a need to display how their problems aren’t as big as your problems.
We are human, things happen we struggle, we vent, we get down. But is that a reason to be all “well, I don’t know why you’re moaning… everyone has issues and quite frankly mine are worse”?
I don’t think it is. I think it’s about time the parenting community just stop with this idea of better and worse. Not least because it doesn’t example good behaviour to the kids, or consider that everyone is different… but also because really, what does it achieve? Do you feel better putting someone down? Does it make the person feel better? Does it solve any issues? Nope, I can’t say that it does.
When I see people going through it this is my contingency:
- Is there anything I can do to help?
- Yes – offer the help
- No – go to point 2
- Perhaps, I am not sure – tell them you are there and ask if you can do anything to help
- Would it feel awkward, like you are just being nosey, if you were to tell them you are there for them?
- No – well tell them then, don’t downplay their problems, don’t say “it’s normal” or “it’ll pass”, offer them something supportive and tell them you know you can’t help, but you are there if they need you.
- Yes – just shut up and pass on by…
You can’t help in every circumstance, that’s for sure. But what is certain is that you have a choice to not make someone feel worse.
Even if you think you know what someone is going through, consider that you don’t and be kind. Just remember that suffering and endurance really are relative experiences. And just because you have travelled the same path, doesn’t mean you’re carrying the same weight, experiencing the same weather conditions, fighting with the same energy and motivated with the same levels of support.
Let’s stop this hate. Let’s stop this judgement, this competition, this downplay of suffering, this isolation. And let’s instead spread compassion and unity and empathy and empowerment.