Blank space, I am trying to find the right words. The ‘right words’, I wonder. I listen to someone describe a rough day. I pause, I want to let them know they’ll get through this and it will be okay. How do I do this?

I think about how I will never really know how it feels for them to experience a rough day. I learn that my rough day could look very different from a friend’s. I might overcook my lunch, wondering if I would ever be able to perfect cooking. An unassuming thought about my ability cascades to work, shaping my rough day. I am learning how to accept my rough days, acceptance lets me find my way through the rest of my day.

I step back to look at the bigger picture, being unable to cook lunch might seem like a 'silly' reason to be disappointed with, but it is valid. When I approach a friend, I hold hope that I am heard, I want to be seen and acknowledged. When I am on the other side of the conversation, I will attempt to do the same. I try not to assume, question, or belittle what caused their rough day.

“That’s a silly reason to be disappointed about.”
“You’ll get over it. People have bigger problems out there.”

As I write this, I entirely acknowledge my privilege and that there exists suffering outside my own. I hold that awareness close to myself. However, at that moment when I am speaking to someone I trust, I hope to be able to express my disappointment with lunch and feel validated.

Do I hold the expectation that the person I am speaking to understands my disappointment? No, I don’t. I understand that it is okay for someone to not comprehend my rough day, as I would not be able to comprehend theirs.  

“It must have been rough. I don’t know what that feels like. How can I support you through this?”

I find comfort in listening to a friend admit that they do not know. I acknowledge that perhaps, I do not know either. And that you do not always have to offer a solution. You might not even have space to, that is allowed too.

I reflect on why I want to be able to solve and fix rough days, for myself and for others. I remind myself that my admission of not knowing is a form of support too.