Mentoring

You Don’t Know How I Feel

Just like I don’t know how you feel. I don’t know your exact feelings.  I may have similar ones because we’ve gone through a similar situation but they are not identical.  So when you come and tell me that you know “exactly how I feel” I get mad. Bloomin’ mad. And I get mad on behalf of others, too. Like when my friend lost her son when he was 11 months old and a friend of hers came up and said “I know how you feel because I lost my dog last year”. Really? Or when a friend of mine lost her twin sister to suicide at the age of 26 and she was told by another friend “I know how you feel because my brother died before I was even born and I never got to meet him.” That is clearly sad, but you didn’t have 26 years with him.  She did. You and I may think we know exactly how someone feels when they go through something difficult.  We don’t fully.  So, when someone is hurting and you have been through a similar circumstance, just love them.  Tell them you know they are hurting.  Let them know that you are there for them.  And if they ask about your story, then tell them. And let them decide if you know exactly what they are going through.  But don’t assume you know exactly what they are going through. Because you don’t. I don’t. And quite frankly, all they really need is a hug and lots of prayers.

14 thoughts on “You Don’t Know How I Feel”

  1. Or how bout this, when we lost our 8 month old daughter a ‘wonderful’ (NOT) person said we must have sin in our lives or not enough faith. GRRRRR. She’s luck I was spiritual enough not to haul off and slap her.

    I just thank God that I had enough people in my life to ‘just hug me’ though it.

  2. I had a bunch of people say that the consequences of sin in life determine life circumstance…Like if I did not pray the right way about something that I would be punished!!! These people are not in my life anymore by choice! I avoid anyone who thinks they are “holy and have arrived ” like the plague!!!

  3. Great post and SO true.

    Sometimes and really quite often, the best thing you can say is absolutely nothing at all. Just keep you mouth shut and sit with them, hug them and love them….but say nothing.

    Thanks for the post,

  4. Okay the dog comment…..really? Really? What is WRONG with people? I know we all fight the tendency to bring every conversation back around to ourselves, but wow…..

  5. I try to remember and say ” I can only imagine what it must feel like” as no one truly knows how another feels.

    Even though my mother died 17 yrs ago, and I was a young mother at the time… my husband truly had no idea until now… as his father died a month ago. Even after 17 years, living thru her death and my grief… he had no real idea for how he is now feeling today. Relationships are different, and everyone is impacted in different ways.

    “I can only imagine…” truly speaks volumes.

  6. I have used “I can’t even imagine.” My bff lost her 24-year-old son to suicide 3 weeks ago. All I could do was hug her and love her and “I can’t even begin to imagine how this feels, but I am so sorry.”

  7. I agree. There is nothing wrong for us to even say “I can’t imagine how that must feel, just know that I’m here for you”. As people we seem to feel the need to “get it”… truth WE DON’T (most of the time we don’t, anyways).
    Thanks for sharing this Cindy, it’s a wise word that we all need to hear!

  8. I hear that a lot. “I know how you feel.” Truth is, you may have an IDEA how you feel, but everyone experiences their feelings differently. I have to believe that even losing a child feels differently to different people, because we all process things differently.

    When people say “I know how you feel”, I’m sure they don’t mean to belittle or trivialize our feelings. They want us to know that they care and they’re empathetic. But rather than “I know how you feel”, maybe a heartfelt “I love you” or “You know I’m here if you need me” is the better response.

  9. true and i’m guilty.

    we probably all are on some level guilty of saying ‘i know just how you feel.’ good point, and i confess that sometimes my mouth gets ahead of my brain/heart combo. and then sometimes we think we know, but we just don’t. HE knows. so glad about that.

    good point, cindy.

  10. Great, now I’m thinking back on every conversation we ‘ve ever had trying to remember if I’ve done that to you. Guessing I would know by the smoke coming out of your ears, right? =)

  11. I think that when people say they know how you feel and really don’t they minimize what you went through. People don’t even take the time to listen, by saying they know how you feel, it stops the conversation………and in your head you are thinking “They don’t even know the whole story, how can they know how I feel”……you can’t judge another person’s pain, especially the emotional pain.

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