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I feel your pain?

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Posted: Sun May 28, 2017 5:16 pm

Do I actually feel your pain? Nope! It’s all yours. Though I might have experienced the same stuff you did, my pain and the way I feel it is all mine. It’s unique to me because I’m unique; one in over seven billion. My physical pain tolerance may be nothing like yours. My emotional fortitude, if there is such a thing, might not compare to yours at all. But if I said that to you I would have meant well. I would’ve wanted you to feel better because I cared and I knew you were suffering. That’s all good; for me I guess. For you, not so much. You might think, “You can’t possibly feel my pain”.  Or “You’re full of crap”. Or “Maybe you mean well but you’re just a jerk”. 

So there it is, today’s self evaluation with hopes for a better tomorrow.
Just sayin’

Posted: Mon May 29, 2017 2:45 am

Well stated Mike! 

Here is my own take on your contemplation:

It is most unfortunate that it has become fashionable of late to foreshorten phrases, which can very slightly alter their original meaning.

Many years ago, it might be that the phrase would have been expressed as "I feel for you in your time of pain". However, this longer version is now considered old fashioned and a somewhat weird way of talking or writing.

I tend to use the term 'I have empathy' or 'I can empathise',  rather than 'I feel' because it avoids this kind of miscommunication and subsequent misinterpretation.

Thank you for stimulating a thought for today for me too. 

Best wishes


Posted: Mon May 29, 2017 8:07 pm

Thanks, Bill.  You're a very wise gentleman and your understanding in these matters is of considerable value.  I'm not sure there's universal understanding of empathy.  For some, the word "feel" sounds cool and explaining empathy might take too long.  You are right; shortening phrases has become fashionable.  Accurate communication sometimes takes more energy and/or effort than one might be ready to expend.

Always enjoy your writings.



Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 1:41 am

Hello Mike. 

You have touched upon a subject that has great significance in the sphere of communication and lest we forget, communication is usually at least a two-way affair. The listener also brings their own interpretation skills to interaction and this can occasionally come with all sorts of historical emotional baggage that can distort the meanings that the communicator might have first envisaged.

In my work on 'constructive conversations' we would begin with just a single word concept, which would quickly evoke a miriad of different meanings and responses, which, in turn triggered a string of interrelated concepts until a tentative conclusion was reached. Often the string of conversation would be so vigorous that it could not be completed in the two hours allocated so I would need to  draw it to a close and reopen  the same conversation at the next meeting in order for the participants to feel satisfied that their viewpoints had been given a sufficient airing. 

My point being, that communication is complicated enough when we are talking to ourselves but when we involve other people, those complications can expand exponentially and in ways hard to envisage prior to opening the conversational box.

Thank you again for the stimulating topic.

Best wishes


Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 3:48 pm

So Bill, what began as a concept often misunderstood, evolved to communication or lack of for various reasons. I thank you for that. I strive to communicate accurately by voice or in writing because I want the listener or reader to know what I mean. It’s disrespectful to cause folks to labor to understand what I mean. Sometimes we might label someone a “great communicator”. Because communication requires more than one person as you so wisely advise, that great communicator might just be blessed with great audiences. Some writers pride themselves in using the rules of grammar proficiently. I try to follow the rules because I respect the language and the person(s) with whom I’m attempting to communicate. Sometimes, however, I deliberately violate those rules because my priority is to communicate rather than get a good grade in English and using “ain’t” or the “F” word or starting a sentence with “And” or “But” gets the message across more vividly. Communication in, and of, the sciences is different from sharing feelings; different from expressing emotions. Math and sciences are simple to express because there’s right and wrong with nothing in between. After having the same life experience, the differences among people’s feelings could be unlimited. The distance from home to the 7-11 is 323 yards or 295.351 meters. That’s precise. How tired I get from that trip is precisely understood by me alone. I can’t accurately communicate that to anyone else.
Wow, did I diverge from this topic? Hope not. You got me thinking, Bill, and no matter how hard I tried to get you to feel my appreciation, I can’t communicate that to you at the exact parameter. Thank you again.
Stay well,

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 4:57 pm

Hello again Mike. 

I appreciate the sentiment in deliberately breaking the 'rules' in order to communicate more effectively.

Someone, who thought they had the authority to control how I did things, once said that rhyming verse could not be scientific as it would not be 'poetry'. I love this sort of misinformed and misguided challenge which resulted in two books: The first was a PhD thesis some 365 pages long translating my original thesis into rhyming verse from beginning to end. The second was a book entitled 'Scientific Versification' in which I demonstrate how it is possible to to be 'scientific' in verse. Here is my take within that publication on 'Science':


Science, if it has a wisdom
likes to work within a system.
It seeks to be methodical
orderly and logical.

Implicit is a set of rules
embedded in a range of tools.
They’re there to guide us how to act.
to help elicit truth and fact.

But bear in mind that rules are meant
to be broken and be bent.
If no one ever questioned laws
we would never see their flaws.

Science would seem asinine
if no one stepped way out of line.
Many things would not be known
and nothing would get overthrown.

If no one was unorthodox
or never thought outside the box.
Nothing would be modified
and science would be ossified.

A scientific guide you’ll find
is not a shield to hide behind.
You may use a premonition
or rely on intuition.

You can still be systematic
even if you are pragmatic.
There’s skill and discipline in art
some think this is the place to start.

So maybe in the written word
a scientific strain is heard.
I sense within the verse I write
a scientific light shines bright.

                        B. Withers 2012


However, I consider one of my greatest achievements as having developed a system of communication that is almost entirely non-verbal. It emerged from a long-term study of people and their pets, where human beings were convinced that the communications and interaction between themselves and their pets was a genuine, understandable form of communication.

All I did was note down and copy what the pets were doing for the people non-verbally and translate that into a systematic non-verbal interaction of human to human. Interestingly, it resulted in no lying or deceit but a genuine, honest and open form of communication about some subjects that people might otherwise find very difficult to talk about. Not surprisingly, mirroring the way people talk to their pets.

Best wishes


Last edited by Bill on Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:53 am; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:25 am

Well, I for one do feel emotional pain for others. Sometimes even "sympathy pain" where I actually physically hurt because someone I care for is in physical pain. I don't know if it is really in my mind or just some weird connection I have but for me it's real.

 Feeling some elses pain can also mean you know how it feels because you've been where they are whether it stubbing your toe or breaking a bone, we may have also done those things and felt pain.

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:23 pm

Bill, I think your verse entitled “SCIENCE” was a work of art. No pun intended. The rest of your reply was enlightening, interesting and something I want to learn more about.
Mrs.A, I admire your willingness to share others’ discomfort and, sometimes, you might feel exactly what they feel. What I was attempting to convey is that when we tell others we feel their pain it is often taken negatively. I’ve heard stuff like “You don’t have a clue”. Sometimes folks, though wanting to share, are really possessive of their feelings and want to remain unique in that respect. I don’t know; I’m just guessing.
For me, the bottom line is trying to say the most comforting things to those who are hurting in whatever way and avoid saying anything that might violate their individuality.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:31 am

Hello Mike. 

Thank you for your kind comments about the verse on 'Science'. The rest of my reply was a paragraph paraphrasing about ten years of study on the subject of people and their pets and would be somewhat difficult to explain in any depth without running into the danger of rewriting the tomes that emerged from the studies. I am not sure that a site dealing with stomas is the appropriate forum for this type of exposition, other than the odd, throwaway  comment that was made earlier.

Best wishes


Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:35 pm

Hey Bill, I totally respect your comments relative to pets and stomas.  My interest is relative to some folks I've encountered who have much more compassion for a pet than a needy human.  I tnink I mentioned before how some folks go into a state of depression after seeing a young deer hit by a car.  If an old man suffered the same fate, those same folks might comment something like "The old fart probably wasn't looking where he was going". That's different from the communication between us and animals and I thank you for the reminder.

Stay well,


Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:49 pm

I now need to apologize, again, because this has nothing to do with the original idea of this post.  I think almost everyone on this site is a good, caring, empathic, sometimes sympathetic, wise person.  When someone tells us of their physical or emotional dilemma, our priority, most likely, is to provide comfort to that person.  Whatever we've experienced, there's no guarantee we've felt it the same and some folks might get offended by our suggestion.  Sometimes there are no good responses and a simple "sorry" might be the safest.

I must also apologize for the excessive use of commas.  This language is just too tough for me and it's the only one I have any comfort with.

Wishing all the best,


Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:31 am

Sometimes a hug says it all. This to me is what a person gets when they turn to their pet for some comfort. Just wanting someone to hug, (or pet) as they go through their own feelings and try to adjust or put things in perspective. Wanting someone to listen rather than respond?

Sometimes it's comforting to hear or be reminded that others have been through a similar experience when we express our sorrow by just saying I'm sorry.

Then we all seem to find that some folks do react negatively no matter what you try.

I guess we have to know when to leave it alone.

It reminds me of folks who don't know how to accept a compliment. They respond with a negative reaction when your trying to say something nice or positive.



Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:23 pm

Once again, Mrs.A, I agree.  I guess we sometimes forget that being in pain might compromise one's ability to be rational and, like you mention, a negative reaction is all we get.  I think we're all still learning and I'm thankful for your thoughts.


Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:22 am

Kudos to Mike and Bill ( and Mrs A) to keep this conversation interesting enough for me to focus and understand, even at 5 am.    You both comunicate beautifully, and your poems Bill, get to the emotional point, with some added talent and interest.  

There are certainly different ways in which to post a reply.....and we all tend to vary.    But are we writing and sharing  our story, in the hopes that it will help another.   I sometimes try to avoid that , as it sounds like " you're going through a difficult time....but my story tops  yours".   Sometimes, less is more and I try to fathom what the writer would most appreciate.  AS Mrs. A put it, we may feel the writer's pain, and it may be enough for them to know that we empatize and are sending them that proverbial hug.   Other times people reach out for very specific information, and at those times.....less might be more.  As with any self help group, the advice is only as caring as the people who are willing to share.   I think we have an overabundance of good hearted people, who are willing to share their experience, to reassure the person in need.  

Thanks for this early morning seminar.   Love your "commas" Bill.   I on the other hand are obsessed with " quotes".   Have no reason why.   Rules of grammar are slowly traveling into "deep freeze", and are difficult to retrieve.   Have a good day lovey people...


Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:24 am

Whoops,   sorry, it's Mike who has the relationship with commas!   Sorry for the error. 


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