Many individual mindsets are programmed to sympathize with others suffering unless it is in the extreme by which they may become empathetic.
How many times have you heard the clichéd quote "Do not complain as someone else is living off worse than you" or "Well I have been through worse so you will be fine" or "Find some gratitude as many go without in Africa" etc.
When I hear this approach it breaks my heart because without realizing, that person has completely disregarded the individual's feelings. Naturally our default mode tends to criticise, judge, condemn and worry about the past, the present, the future and events that are not even personally connected to us. By disregarding the individual's feelings then fuels their default thinking process. It becomes an implanted sentence by which they attack themselves with and lowering what self esteem they have left.
Everyone handles emotions, pains and sees things in different ways, meaning their reaction will differ person to person. Just because you believe you have experienced in your words "darker moments" or "had a harder life" does not mean that they are not struggling with what they are facing. Again THEY, not you!
We need to stop and listen intently to the sufferer. Not to say dutifully that "it will be fine" as this does not help the sufferer in the present. Saying "its okay" is also not being empathetic but sympathetic. Try to remember your darkest moments. Look for the similarities in the painful emotions triggered and remember the words you wanted to hear.
This is the moment to give love, comfort and give them your time. The moment to share similar experiences so they do not feel alone and even if you do not know, say so openly but assure them that you are there for them to lean on.
So today let us focus on being emphatic and stopping the automatic disregard response we do, whether intentional or not. Let us offer an open ear, our time and comforting words that you are there by their side. Let them see that what they are feeling and their reaction is completely understandable and they have every right to. From this they can build self love, acceptance and healing.
When we receive sympathetic support we end up disregarding our emotions and instead turn on to ourselves as the enemy and not the sufferer.