Know Your Audience
One of the foundational principles in Grief Recovery work is that we don’t compare losses because as we say in the coaching world, compare leads to despair.
When comparing losses no one wins. If I say, “mine is worse than yours,” it can diminish what you have shared often leaving you feeling smaller, less than, or unimportant. If I say, “yours is the worst,” I might as well tell you that you are alone and put you in a box that says you will never recover.
Neither of these options is appealing and they certainly don’t foster compassion.
It is important to recognize that each person has his or her own experience and that each of those experiences is important and unique.
The one thing I want to add is this: know your audience. Knowing your audience means being aware of who your are complaining to or sharing with and having compassion for their experience.
For example, if you had a pipe break in your house and the plumber had to come and clean up your basement, that is legitimately frustrating… and know your audience. If you are talking to someone who just lost his/her house in a flood, consider sharing your woes with someone who can support you.
Now, I am not saying that yours isn’t a big deal — it is. And that is absolutely understandable. However, someone who has just lost everything they own in a flood may not have the bandwidth to support you right now.
Another example: if your kid is having trouble in school, know your audience. Don’t complain to your friend whose child was just killed in an accident, as it may be difficult for them to support you with your challenge. Again, this doesn’t mean your challenge isn’t important or valid– it is. It just means know your audience and seek support from someone who can offer you compassion.
Remember, what you are going through is important. Just be aware of who you are sharing with so that you can be received with compassion as well.
If you want to create more ease and less awkwardness even in your toughest conversations, please join me for Ask Laura Anything – Compassionate Conversations.
Whether you need help finding compassion for that family member who drives you nuts, communicating with your roommate who refuses to pull her weight, supporting your friend who is has been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness, or telling your family difficult news, this is the call for you.