How to Respond to Hidden Pain

A woman sits on a bench alone in the rain. Text: by Jay Fadden

The other day, I was speaking to a person who I talk to often. We discuss many different topics. The conversations are usually enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. The other day, it was different. This person told me a personal and sad story about their family. It was a devastating story. As I stood there, I knew there was nothing I could do but listen and be present. I left and thought about what was said and what they were going through. I had no idea what this person was dealing with and the pain and frustration that was part of their life.

We interact with people every day. Some of those interactions are pleasant, and some are challenging. We can respond in many ways, depending on the situation. However, we do not know what that person is experiencing in their life—the difficult situations they live with, whether it be a sick family member, loneliness, depression, financial pressures, relationship problems, or any number of issues that they are carrying with them. Some of those problems manifest themselves in anger, pain, or sadness.

Imagine if a person was rude to you and you responded in kind. It is a natural reaction. But maybe someone that person loves is suffering and they are suffering with them. They are carrying a deep sorrow that can change and affect a person. In today’s world, we seem to respond with vitriol when someone disagrees with us or is rude. We need to respect and love one another and treat them with dignity and respect while understanding we may not know the whole story of why they are acting in a bad manner. We need to care. People in pain should not be alone. Love is the answer, and you are the solution.


How to Respond to Hidden Pain