Yesterday I was speaking to a friend who lost a dear one. She said a year on she still felt raw pain, was unable to feel real joy, and was unable to move on. My first instinct was to tell her that it would get better soon, and she would be fine once she comes to terms with her loss. Instead I was quiet and just squeezed her hand.
I put the kettle to boil and looked out of the window, at the flowers in the garden. Every flower was different, so were people. Some of us bounce back quicker than others. It doesn't make us better or stronger...we are just different.
As I handed my friend her cup of tea, she looked up at me and said, "Thank you.....for not lecturing me about my loss."
After she left that day I thought about the number of times how with the best of intentions, we often end up making others feel worse. When we try to put ourselves in someone's shoes, we literally put ourselves in their place. We then decide how we would feel or react and expect them to feel or react same.
So the next time, instead of trying to walk in someone else's shoes, I think I might stay in my own shoes and walk beside them instead.