“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. This highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
No one can possibly understand your pain: unless you live with chronic pain or any other invisible illness it is humanly impossible for another to comprehend what you go through each and every day. I cannot understand how a woman can lose a child or a person can live with any form of cancer. However, I can do my best to empathize with another’s pain and put myself in their shoes and sometimes the empath in me can actually feel their pain as my own. We all expect another person, especially our loved ones to understand why we are sometimes not up for some things or cranky and we get easily angered if a loved one does not give us gold stars or their empathy for what we survive and live with every day of our lives. The frustrating part is people who have chronic pain really just want to be acknowledged for their efforts and triumphs, even if he or she does not talk about pain and hear those two magic sentences: “I believe you” and “I am proud of you.” However, this does not always happen and everyone we know and those we do not know are all fighting their own battles and unintentionally forget their loved one has an invisible illness. Why? Because of that annoying word: invisible.
I believe we all expect from other’s what we would do for them if they had chronic pain. What would you do for your spouse, sibling, parent, or best friend if he or she had chronic pain? People cannot read our minds and I have said this many times but the communication differences between males and females is astronomical. Women, for the most part (not all) can talk and talk and talk. We then get frustrated because we do not feel acknowledged and/or heard, which to be honest is probably true. Men deal with issues in a much different way and one wise woman told me once that most males are only able to actually hear one significant thing. So as women go on and on and on, their loved one has really only “heard” one thing and that one thing could have been the least important on your list of things to say. So once again, I ask what would you do if someone you loved had chronic pain? You know what you would do because you live with chronic pain. My suggestion is to write down the top five things you want/need from your loved one as you continue on your path with an invisible illness. Then for at least a week, let it go. You can only change yourself. You can only change how you react to someone else. We must learn and accept that most people have an opinion without a clear understanding of one another’s life. This is quite sad because the opinion is unlikely positive. We have to let what other’s think go as hard as that can be. There is so many more important things for all of us to focus on than the opinions of others. Focus on your opinion of yourself. For the record, I have chronic pain and I believe you and I am an email away.