When hearing emotional pain we can easily jump to an immediate reaction to “fix it”…which is not always helpful. When people experience pain, they benefit from being heard and validated through empathy, not pity or sympathy (see the difference here). Sometimes we wish well, but we just have a hard time coming up with empathetic statements.
Often times our natural tendency is to eradicate pain and fix the issue. While this can be helpful in some cases, it is usually best to collaborate and fix an issue (if desired by the hurting person) after hearing and validating the pain.
When we empathize with others, we give them space to process, time to feel heard, a chance to experience support and the opportunity to feel validated in their feelings.
Some people are gifted with the ability to empathize with others, while other people have to work at expanding their comfort with emotions. Other people are comfortable with emotions, but simply are unsure how to respond with consolation!
This list is for anyone who has ever experienced difficulty in knowing “what to say” to someone who is hurting.
This list of statements has been designed to incorporate words/feelings for what you are experiencing in hearing another persons’ pain. These empathetic statements are best used when they are said from a genuine heart.
31 Empathetic Statements that Show You Care:
- It is hard.
- You feel hurt because of this experience.
- Sometimes these things don’t really make sense.
- I can hear in your voice that _________ has been really difficult for you.
- I am so sorry this happened.
- I want to thank you for opening up to share this with me.
- Hearing you say that gives me chills.
- That would frustrate me too.
- It sounds like you have really tried to make sense of all of this.
- I would be asking the same questions you are if I were in the situation.
- This kind of thing is never easy.
- That sounds like a frightening experience.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
- It is clear that this has deeply affected you.
- If ________ happened to me I would be very upset too.
- I hear you.
- It sounds like you have been really stressed.
- What I hear is that you have been treated unfairly.
- That does sound tough.
- You are right, it does not make sense at all.
- You are making total sense.
- I am on your side.
- I will be with you through this.
- That sounds frightening.
- I would also have trouble coping with this.
- Somehow through all of this, you keep going.
- That is disappointing.
- I can see why you were really hurt by that.
- That sounds scary.
- That must be infuriating.
- No wonder you are upset.
For more on communicating in a loving relationship, check out 2 Communication Skills Every Couple Needs.