Background image from Joanna Kosinska - Thank you


It is not helpful to discount or diminish anyone’s pain or suffering.

By discounting, you are (thinking) or saying to this person, I think you are suffering a lot less than you say you are. What you are saying, with your attitude, is that you know more about this person’s inner experience than they do. This is quite an arrogant position to take, even if you are just thinking it.

And, understandably, it is hurtful and offensive.

A more useful way to think about another person’s pain is to think about the problem as being more than, not less than.  The person’s experience of pain is not less of a real problem. It is more of a real problem, because there are more elements to it than just the physical nature of the person’s injury.  This is especially useful if you think that the person’s pain is at least partly related to stress.

Go Tina

We all know Tina Fey. A lot of people love her from her Sarah Palin imitations on Saturday Night Live.

I saw an interview with her once and she offered a very clever explanation of how to do impromptu comedy. She said it was very simple, just yes, and.  So, the first person says I had a bad dream last night and you say yes you did, and I bet it was very scary. Then, you take the story off in another direction. For example, you might build upon your response by saying, scary dreams are hard for a lot of people. My brother got so scared that he would wet the bed.

Each person in the comedy routine then uses the same formula of yes and and to keep it rolling. Very clever I thought.

Show That You Care

So how can this formula help us to understand and to communicate our understanding about chronic or long-term pain? To show that we care and that we get it.

The secret is to follow Tina’s lead.

You want to think and say, yes you have real physical pain, yes I know it has been very hard for you and I suspect it has caused a lot of stress in many parts of your life. Now, you have an opening to talk about the stresses caused by the person’s injuries and pain. You have an opening to learn and to talk about the whole picture.

This simple strategy will help in your own understanding and help you to better communicate your understanding to people with injuries, pain and almost any kind of suffering. Yes and is also be an important part of the answer to why chronic pain can be so overwhelming. It is overwhelming because it is complicated, with many moving parts all working together to cause you more pain.

This is why I have created the blog, entitled Pain And Loss. I have also written an eBook entitled, Why is Chronic Pain So Overwhelming for So Many People? (Available and free to all, here).

The “secret” of yes and is so simple, yet so useful, to all of us that wish to become compassionate citizens of the world.

Thank you to Brittanica  (image above from Unsplash) for your creative work.

Until next time, let our warm hearts soar!


And thank you for caring that little bit extra – it really makes a big difference.

Image from Room to Read - Thank you

“Education is the only thing that cannot be taken away. It is the key to fulfilling my dreams.”
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