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I have made the strong case (if I do so say myself) in the past that perspective is highly overrated.  In short, just because someone has it worse than you doesn’t mean that your pain shouldn’t be comforted.    However, upon further review two groups of people have come to mind.  Perhaps they do need, or at least could use, some perspective in their life.

The first is those who are so wrapped up in their own pain that they can’t bear to entertain (let alone comfort) anyone elses pain.  Their world envelopes them.  Typically, it’s not that they don’t want to be there or care for others in pain.  The fact is, they can’t.  Their emotions are so full of hurts (major, minor, all types) that they believe one more will break them.

As hurts have come their way, one of two things has happened.  First, some people have learned that their hurt matters more than just about anything else in life.  From the time they were small children if they got hurt, the attention and even appropriate comfort followed.  Therefor the actual pain gets piggybacked by the need for attention/support/security and is lumped into one giant need for comfort.  They cannot look to others pain as they are solely focused on their pain.  Further, they have learned at best to focus on their pain and at worst to create situations that demand they get what they feel they need/deserve.  Remember, when someone doesn’t get a need met,  very often they will do everything they can to take or “pirate” that need.  It never satisfies but rather, pacifies temporarily the need that they are craving.

The other folks in this group are people who have never really had any hurts addressed in their life.  Whether it be because they were told to move on or worse yet, have not had their hurts acknowledged in any way, they have no idea of what comfort feels like.  To think of others pain is simply foreign to them.  Again, it’s not that they won’t reach out to others, they simply can’t…they don’t know how.

The second group is perhaps far sadder.  These are the folks who have completely detached from the pain in their life.  They have nothing to offer those around them who are in pain.  They either are the “suck it up” type, the “nothing is wrong” crowd, or “negative emotions are evidence of a lack of faith in self/God” banner wavers.  Both groups need comfort but the second group won’t even entertain it, they don’t want it, won’t accept it, and don’t  have it to give others.  Remember, it is very very hard to give a gift that you have never received.

So, although greatly over exaggerated, perhaps perspective is needed by some.  Now, the hard core truth.  Perspective is rarely enough.  How often have you ever simply said, “Wow, now that I think about it THAT way I see things in a completely different light.”  No, we’re just not that cognitively driven.  If we do think that and feel that way, it’s short lived.  Instead, perspective has to be met with an experience and emotion.  We have to experience some event occurring and feel the need for or to comfort, perhaps for the first time.

For the folks in the “obsessed with their own hurts” grouping it may be truly seeing others in pain and not being able to ignore it any longer.  It would typically be a pain so great or someone so close that they simply can’t redirect the attention to themselves at this time.  Granted, it has got to be some serious pain someone else is in.  It is imperative that someone is there with them to gently guide them through loving another while loving that person as well.

For the folks in the “nothing to see here, move along” crowd, their little black box of emotions (where they stuff all of their hurts) eventually has to get blown wide open with a significant event that opens the flood gate of emotions and consequences that can’t be ignored.  It is also of the utmost importance that someone is here for them to comfort the hurts that are now spewn all over the place.  Once the moment has died down, the person will do all that they can to simply shove the lid back down and move on as they always have before.

After writing, and rewriting, and editing, then deleting, and then finally compiling all of the above I would simply say this.  Perspective is nice and necessary for some.  However, I will never stop screaming from the mountaintops (and by that I mean “gently saying”) that everyone needs more comfort, and to comfort more, and to do it correctly.  Some don’t want it, but all need it.

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