In my time at Nyack College, I’ve learned a lot of important lessons. I’ve learned how to live in the moment, I’ve learned to appreciate the experience and wisdom of my professors, I’ve learned how to be independent, and I’ve learned a lot about myself. Just when I think I’ve learned it all, God teaches me something new.
This semester, I’ve been learning that everything is relative. I’m not sure what made me think about this first, but I’ve learned that it applies to countless different situations. Most importantly, this idea has been crucial in the way I relate to others, and the way I view myself.
When getting to know other people, I’ve learned how important it is to view them as an individual person on their own journey. Someone who grew up with protective parents might see a lack of direction as a stressful thing. Someone who has been a Christian their whole life might be underwhelmed by basic spiritual truths. When having discussions with people, I’ve discovered that it’s not always necessary to share my point of view. Sometimes, people want the person they’re talking with to meet them where they’re at. Think about it. It’s meaningful when someone you’re having a conversation with tries to put themselves in your shoes.
It’s one thing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when discussing a class you’re not in or a schedule they view as hard but seems easy to you. It’s a completely different thing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when they’re experiencing pain. Pain, I’ve found, is the most relative thing anyone could ever experience. This really struck me in getting to know one of my best friends on a deeper level. Becca and I get along because we see the world in a very similar way, but we currently have very different struggles. In talking to her about these struggles, I’ve learned the value of walking alongside someone despite an inability to know exactly how they’re feeling. Whether it’s physical or emotional, everyone experiences different levels of pain, and everyone is affected by it differently. This was a huge realization for me and it impacts how I view my own struggles.
I tend to be very hard on myself when things upset me, telling myself that what causes me exceptional pain is minuscule to other people. But what I’ve discovered is that circumstances and experiences make all pain extremely relative. While you might have a high tolerance for stress, one negative comment from someone could throw you off completely. The person sitting next to you in class might view things completely opposite. When they are short with you when discussing the 10 page paper due tomorrow, it’s important to consider that their circumstances and experiences are completely different from yours.
Our tolerance for pain in all areas forms the way we express our pain. Though your intentions might be good, your actions have the potential to come across differently. Since all pain is relative, it’s important to remember that you can’t judge others by their actions and judge yourself by your intentions.