Schultheis 3 suffered; that continue to hurt from the wounds of their past. I can't tell someone that has suffered like this; "I know exactly how you feel." I do not know exactly how they feel.
There are many similarities that we all feel to the people around us. As a part of the social aspect of our human nature, we wish to find common ground and identify with other human beings. However, in our efforts to find that connection, we can inadvertently offend others. There are many ways to respectfully express that we understand their struggle as they've described it to us, without diminishing their experience. One particular way to do so is to start with the simple validation of their difficulty; "That sounds terrible, I can see that it made your life very difficult." Another way to express the same sentiment, especially when someone expresses something that you have no personal experience, is to simply confess ignorance; "I cannot claim that I know completely, but I understand from what you've said that this was really tough on you and I think that is terrible that this has happened." There are some times where it is difficult to find the right words and, when someone is not at their cognitive best and unable to engineer the perfect response, they can just say; "I'm sorry that this has happened to you."
Whereas it would be wonderful to live in a world without prejudice, where no single group is marginalized, it is unrealistic to expect this to happen. Prejudice and grouping are as much a part of nature as trees and rocks; even if it is an unsavory portion. The only amount of control that we are able to exert is that which we use upon our own communication and actions. We must all lead by example and, if we feel strongly enough, put ourselves in a position that allows us to teach others to do the same.
Published on Nov 17, 2013
A case study on how human beings with similar experiences cannot completely understand each other due to differences in their background and...