Sunday 4 October 2020

Thought Picnic: I share hoping it can help

Making others matter more

One thing I am trying to learn better is how to be considerate of others. More critically, how not to make my life experiences the prism from which I view others, because, even if we do experience the same thing, how we are affected would most definitely differ.

It is that difference I hope I can accommodate fully so that I do not arrogate to myself the omniscience of saying, I know how you feel, even if the feelings are similar enough. Then, I understand when someone comes to me and says, I am sharing this with you because I know you have been through this before, I know I am being asked to engage and bring my experience into the fray.

Experience as a guide

I hope what is being asked for is to relate my experience so they can find ways to navigate the experiences they will have. I have seen where people gain confidence that their pre-term baby will thrive because they see me, a grown-up person who was born quite premature.

In respect of failures in life, my encounters with that many times might help give insight that failure is not the end of opportunity, it is a temporary setback from which many do recover and prosper. Attitude is the construct in which to manage adversity for in accepting it is part of a storied life, we do get to tell better stories.

Sharing builds relationships

Having had cancer, there is much I know about pain, the life consequences, the losses that follow and the despair that can take over your life that you are literally losing hope of anything getting better. I would not deign to make my cancer experience a template, my understanding of it is primarily based on my experience and I resist being tempted to extrapolate it to others.

However, what I found is more effective is sharing my experience, telling my own personal story, in that, people, can relate, find relationships and a frame of reference. The story contextualises the human experience and allows others to reflect that if anyone can come through this, then they also have a chance, a possibility, or a prospect of seeing it through too.

If you can, tell

You cannot say to what extent sharing your experience will help another, but I have found out, without the stories, everyone feels alone, isolated in the cocoon of thinking their personal issue is unique, separate and insurmountable.

The saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, that is only helped when someone you know and can relate to can show you that bridge has been crossed many times before, there is nothing to be afraid of in the experience called life.

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