Life is tragic.
It is tragic in so many different ways, on so many levels. You can flip on the TV and in 30 seconds see sadness stretched from one corner of the globe to another.
Sadness, tragedy, and grief–they get ranked. We sort and file through the mess, deciding who actually has a right to be sad about their experience. We maybe even think, “Ugh, I’ve had it way worse than that, what are they even sad about?”
Maybe you’ve said, “Look, death is a part of life. It’s probably time we just accept it. It’s not good to dwell.”
Maybe you’ve even told someone you loved that they need to “Buck up”. You may not have used those words, but…there are other ways people say this. They may just say something like, “It’s really important to have perspective here. At least you didn’t have [fill in anything here] happen.”
The thing I’d like to say about perspective is that, yes, it matters. Of course it matters. We need to put ourselves in check sometimes and be grateful for the things we have, for example, instead of lamenting about what we don’t. And, of course, we all know the person who moans and groans for 3 weeks because their cable was out for 2 hours and they missed their shows. That’s definitely not what I’m talking about.
But, you guys. You guys. Perspective is typically something we need to realize on our own. And, I know you don’t like to hear it, but sometimes the thing you need your loved one to realize is actually not accurate. You may not know because you’ve never lived through something similar. Or maybe it’s just a concept you can’t TOTALLY understand because of who you are (for example, understanding a woman when you are a man).
Back to tragedy. You don’t get to decide what someone else’s tragedy is (or isn’t). If someone you love is hurting, please support them. Please love them. Please tell them that you wish they weren’t hurting and that you’re here to listen.
Please don’t tell them:
*It could be worse
*You’ll forget about this later
*I had that happen, too, and I’m fine now
*I had a friend who had this happen and she said (even if it’s important-your person needs to come to this by his/herself!
Remember that your point of view doesn’t really matter when someone is hurting. If you roll your eyes and think, “Oh my gosh, it’s just a dog/cat/hamster, at least it’s not a person,” you won’t be any comfort to them. And really, if you want to be a supportive friend, it just doesn’t matter if you think losing a pet is no big deal because it wasn’t for YOU. Or you think it wouldn’t be. Because, in the end, what they need is LOVE, not to be told they shouldn’t be hurting.
Life is tragic.
It’s messy and what we need most is an outstretched hand, a comforting word, and love to lift us up.