Keynotes #9: When Everybody Hurts

“Keynotes” are my brief comments about life and recovery and are intended to provide insight, inspiration, wisdom or humor to your day.

I’m reminded of the early 1990’s song “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. (you could view the video here). If you were to watch the video, we’re given a glimpse of people who quietly carry their thoughts, their hurt, their pains, their wounds or their confusion. More than likely, we can either identify with the experience of the people in the song or we know someone who may be silently suffering. What’s the best way to respond if you’re the hurting one or if you’re the one who’s offered the opportunity to witness their suffering?

In my opinion, I’ve seen others open up to share when they intuit that the listener is a safe person who will do just that, listen. Listening without judgment, criticism or even without comment, but with unconditional acceptance provides the safety that’s necessary for the “speaker” to gather their courage, take a risk and come out of their self-protective silence. Offer a compassionate and listening ear or take a risk to move beyond silence with a safe person. You don’t have to carry your hurt alone.


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