Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:05):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:18):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled "Is It Okay To Feel Sorry For Someone?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:25):
Then we'll invite you to reflect on the conversation and in your own life with questions for reflection.
Beth Demme (00:30):
And the show will close with slice of life. And if you wonder what that is, just stay tuned until the end.
Beth Demme (00:36):
So what do you think, Steph? Is it okay to feel sorry for someone? Or maybe we should start with, what does that even mean? What does it mean to feel sorry for someone?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:43):
I just want to say, I don't have an answer to this. I really don't have an answer to this, and I want to have a conversation about it because I have a friend that actually tends to say, in a lot of things... like you know, someone died, somebody lost their shoe, like really broad conversations, "I feel so [crosstalk 00:01:03]-"
Beth Demme (01:03):
That is a quite a spectrum.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:05):
I know, right?
Beth Demme (01:05):
I've misplaced an item or someone incredibly dear to me has died, that is a spectrum.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:10):
But they tend to say, "I feel so sorry for X, person, because of that shoe or that death." So it really has kind of like been sticking my mind because when they say it, it makes me feel something that's not positive when they say it. It almost... I don't know. It feels like in a defense or an offense that I feel when they say it. And so I've never really thought about it, but I've just kind of been like, "Oh, it makes me feel not good when they say that. Why is that? Is it okay to say that? So that's what I want to talk to you about because you have all the answers because you're a lawyer.
Beth Demme (01:50):
No, no, no, no. I don't [crosstalk 00:01:52]-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:52):
Oh, because you're a pastor, you have all the answers.
Beth Demme (01:53):
No, I don't have any answers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:55):
Because you're a mom, you have all the answers.
Beth Demme (01:56):
Okay. I'll buy that. I do want my kids to think I have all the answers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:00):
Beth Demme (02:00):
And I want them to be like... When I say, "Oh, I don't have all the answers," I want them to be like, "Oh, she's so humble."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:06):
The truth folks. The truth. The truth.
Beth Demme (02:10):
I wonder if we can kind of meet it on different levels. I can be sorry that something tragic has happened, I can be sorry that a family is going through a hard time. But I probably could also say it in a way where it was like offering pity, which I think would be condescending and would be bad.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:28):
I think that's what I feel, because I think there's a very big difference between "I'm so sorry you're having to go through that, or that happened." I think there's a difference between that and saying, "I feel so sorry for you," because it feels like pity. I guess that's, to me, feels like you're pitying the person and no one wants to be pitied. If somebody says, "You know, I feel so sorry for you for having dyslexia," for example. Well, don't feel sorry for me. This is my life, this is my reality. That's not helping me at all to feel sorry for me. It would help me if you ask me questions about it, so you can better learn my experience in life, so you can see that just because my life looks different than yours, doesn't mean it's any less valuable or I'm not getting as much out of life as you are.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:15):
So I guess to me, when somebody says, "Oh, I feel so sorry for you," that's the end of our conversation. You don't want to know more, you just want to end the conversation. If you start engaging that conversation, I feel like we can actually have a conversation and maybe learn something from each other and not just like, oh, I feel so sorry for you, move on.
Beth Demme (03:35):
Yeah. When my kids were toddlers and I was just becoming active in a group called Mothers of Preschoolers, that ultimately became really important in my life, I remember this one night, there were a group of moms, a group of us moms, and we were all sitting around, we were having a great time... And it was in that phase of life, that season of life, where I didn't get out much because I had toddlers. So it was really fun to be out with moms and they were all sharing their birth stories. And all of a sudden, one of the moms puts her hand over her mouth and goes, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Are we upsetting you?" "Why would it upset me to hear your birth stories?" "Well, because your kids are adopted." What? Right? So it was that sense of pity or like...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:19):
Beth Demme (04:20):
And I took it as, she was privileging her experience that the best way to become a mom was by giving birth. And I was sitting there with a very different perspective thinking... This is just me y'all. We can disagree, right? But I'm so glad that I was never pregnant. I've come a long way in that journey. And I love that I traveled to find my family. So I didn't appreciate her privileging her experiencing or assuming that I saw my experience as less than because I didn't.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:52):
And you do have a birth story. I mean, you do have a story of like the first time you saw your kid, and how you got your kid.
Beth Demme (04:58):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:59):
It's totally different from their story, but they could learn a lot from that story. You can hear their story... Like you could still learn and come together with your differenting stories.
Beth Demme (05:09):
Yeah. I will just say, that usually when people are telling stories about giving birth to their children, they're not fun stories. And my stories are so fun.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:17):
It is good. And also, we have an episode about that, we will link that to the show notes.
Beth Demme (05:21):
Yeah, we'll put that in the show notes. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:22):
Yeah. That was one of our earlier episodes, because it is a really good story.
Beth Demme (05:26):
Instead of being in the hospital and thinking I was going to die or some terrible trauma, it's like, no, I just had a really good trip. It was really fun.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:33):
Yeah, exactly. Well, some moms have C-sections they have a good trip as well because, well, the drugs.
Beth Demme (05:39):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:40):
Beth Demme (05:40):
I don't know. I don't know if you get drugs.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:42):
I don't know. I think. Do they not put you under?
Beth Demme (05:44):
No, I mean, I think they do, but I just don't hear women talk about it in a positive way. It's always a trauma.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:48):
Oh, yes. That's true. That's true. Maybe we should have a mom that's given birth on the show to talk about it.
Beth Demme (05:53):
Yeah, maybe we should. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:54):
But you just said they're not fun stories so maybe no one wants to hear that.
Beth Demme (05:58):
I think it's important that women share those stories because I do think that there's a bonding that happens, but I wouldn't say that I feel less than because I don't have that story. And so the assumption was, "Oh, I feel sorry for you that you don't have that story." It's like you were saying with dyslexia, don't feel sorry for me. [crosstalk 00:06:15]-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:15):
Also, I have no desire to have kids. Don't feel sorry for me that I'm a woman that doesn't want to have kids. That is my choice and I'm okay with that. Although, I do... like you said, I do think it's important to hear birth stories because they're all different. As much as they're the same, they're very different in different aspects. So I always like hearing about it and hearing like the honest truth and not the like, "And then the baby was here."
Beth Demme (06:43):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:44):
"It was a miracle."
Beth Demme (06:45):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:45):
I mean, there is that like amazing moment where you have your child and it's like, life changes. I only have a little tiny, tiny bit of that feeling with my niblings where it's just like, this human is the best thing in the world and I have three of them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:58):
Yeah. I think that's part of it is like, if someone hears something that's opposite from their experience, I think, there's a part that it makes us uncomfortable. Like as humans, when we hear something that's different from our experience that's hard, it makes us uncomfortable and we don't know what to say. We don't want to say the wrong thing, but I think there's cliches we tend to go to when we don't know what to say. And one of those cliches is, I feel sorry for you. And what does that mean, really? Like really, what does that mean? Because for me, I really don't like cliches. I don't like the... Even like when someone sneezes and we say, "God bless you," I don't like that. Like why? You want to know why? I mean, it's because they thought years ago that the devil was going to enter your body when you sneeze and so they say God bless you to help the devil from not getting in your body.
Beth Demme (07:47):
I say God bless you because my-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:49):
You're a pastor.
Beth Demme (07:50):
... because I'm a pastor, because I think that you... What I remember learning is that you actually can lose consciousness when you sneeze.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:56):
Have you ever seen a person lose consciousness?
Beth Demme (07:59):
Well, It's like for a split second. And so I'm always like, "Oh God bless you," because I don't want... you know, I just, oh, in this moment. Like, I don't [crosstalk 00:08:06]-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:06):
But why? It's just a bodily function. Like I don't understand why do we have to acknowledge it as like, "Oh my gosh. You made a noise. I must acknowledge that."
Beth Demme (08:17):
That's a whole 'nother episode, but I agree with you. And also the idea of blessing, that's a whole 'nother episode that we've got queued up, so stay tuned y'all. We've got lots of honest conversations coming.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:28):
Yeah. But there's like these... I mean, think about that. When someone sneezes, it's socially proper to say something to it. Why? Why? Why is that a thing? Like why does it make us uncomfortable for someone to sneeze, and we have to say something? I don't say anything. That's just like in my family, we've just kind of like...
Beth Demme (08:49):
That's so rude.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:50):
Exactly. Why is it rude to not acknowledge a sneeze? Like, what? I don't understand, why?
Beth Demme (08:57):
Because it's something that's happening to them that's out of their control.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:00):
But it's a sneeze. It's not like they vomited in front of you or something, and...
Beth Demme (09:08):
Oh my, gracious.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:08):
You know [crosstalk 00:09:08]-
Beth Demme (09:09):
If somebody vomits in front of me... I just want to say, if somebody vomits in front of me, you can feel sorry for me at that point. I will take your pity at that point, because that's a terrible situation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:17):
Yes. But I would feel upset for them and want to help them and see if they're okay. And then I would laugh hysterically if they were okay and if it was hilarious situation. You know when someone trips and they like fall and you have to first make sure they're okay and then you just got to laugh because it's funny.
Beth Demme (09:37):
Or you just completely say the wrong thing, which is what I tend to... I don't want to say her name because I don't have her permission, but we have a mutual friend who's older than me and who was walking down the sidewalk on a trip one time. This was maybe three years ago, four years ago. Anyway, she fell and got really seriously injured... I can't even say the story without laughing... and had to go to the hospital. When she told me the story, my response was, "Why did you do that? Why did you trip and fall?" What a terrible thing to have said, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:07):
Beth Demme (10:08):
I think she's forgiven me, but, yeah. Just sometimes, I just say the wrong thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:11):
There's these cliche things that I'm just like, I'm not about... I'm sorry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:15):
So I guess the question is, I know the feeling of being uncomfortable when someone says something really hard. I think we all know. Like that's a human thing. It's like, what do we say that doesn't make the other person feel bad, that is helpful, but is not like overreaching? And we tend to go to... There's a fair amount of people that tend to go to, I feel so sorry for you. And why is that? What does it mean?
Beth Demme (10:38):
Does it sound different to you if I say, "I'm so sorry that happened"?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:42):
Beth Demme (10:43):
Because I do try to say it that way.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:45):
Beth Demme (10:45):
And that feels different to me. Like, I'm not pitying you. But I am trying to empathize or to offer sympathy. this is a bad situation or a negative situation. It makes me think you were talking about how it closes down the conversation. Like to use a cliche like that just kind of shuts it down. And it makes me think about when we had Emily on, back in Episode 22, and she talked about having lived her life with a physical disability. So she looks different when she walks. Like her walk is different, her gait is different. And she said that she would really prefer to have a conversation with people about it than to be stared at or to be pitied, where people would have a willingness to learn about her. And I think that it sort of is at the heart of this issue, that if we're just going to toss pity out, then we're not showing a willingness to honor that person as a whole person.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:41):
Yeah. Well, I guess... That's the thing that, like in this moment giving us a chance to kind of think about it. Like, how do you feel if someone says, "Oh, Beth, I feel so sorry for you that you couldn't give birth." Wow.
Beth Demme (11:52):
Yeah. I don't feel good about that. I feel like they're saying like I'm [crosstalk 00:11:54]-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:54):
Isn't there... like a feeling.
Beth Demme (11:55):
Yeah. I think they're saying I'm less than. It almost puts me on the defensive, like, don't feel sorry for me. I'm not less than.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:02):
Yeah. How does it sound if I say-
Beth Demme (12:04):
Well, you could say something like, "I bet infertility was a really tough experience."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:08):
Beth Demme (12:09):
Yeah. And I'd be like, "You know what? It wasn't the easiest time. You're right, that was tough."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:12):
But it brought me to...
Beth Demme (12:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:14):
... something I never could have imagined.
Beth Demme (12:16):
Right. So it opens a conversation rather than putting me on the defensive or me thinking that you think that I'm less than.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:24):
I will tell you for me, like, I would... And like Emily said in her episode, don't just stare at me. Don't let your kid just stare at me. Ask me a question. Ask me about, like, "You have a little bit different walk than me. Do you mind sharing? I'd love to just understand kind of your life a little bit." And she's like, "Oh, yes. Please." I think the majority of people would much rather you awkwardly ask a question than just trying to dismiss it by, "I feel sorry for you." Even if you say it in like a kind of like awkward way, I still feel like people would be much more willing to open up, I think.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:04):
I think, as humans, we want to talk, we want to share, we want to get things out of us, we want to help share about our lives and learn about other people's lives. But there's like this thing that kind of gets in the way where we just feel like we're not supposed to do this, or this is wrong, like society says like... if someone's hurting and somebody is like... Something tragic's happened, just let them be. Don't disrupt it, just say you're sorry and move on. But I don't think that helps. I don't think that gets us anywhere. But by asking questions, somebody is allowed to really share and it might open and broaden your perspective, something that you would have...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:40):
There are so many reality shows and so many shows these days where we get to see into people's lives that we wouldn't normally. There's a show that... It's been on forever, Little People, Big World.
Beth Demme (13:52):
Oh, I used to watch that, too. I loved that show.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:54):
Yeah. And on the show, it's two little people parents and they have four kids, and one is a little person. It's actually was so interesting because I'd never really experienced little people. I never got to hear their stories or know about their lives. And it was like... They went to little people conferences, it was like so interesting. Like I got to see a little person who's just like me but little, and has some different struggles in life, like some physical struggles and some like houses aren't made for them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:23):
And it just opened my eyes to like, "Wow, okay. So these are things that I need to be aware of." If I have any ability to like make changes and... a home or in the way laws are set, like this is important to know that people need these things. Instead of looking at a little person like, "Oh, I'm so sad, they're so small. They will never be able to live life like me." No. They live life just like me, maybe even better. So I think with having so much programming and streaming now, I think there is some really cool things that come from that, being able to experience other people's lives and seeing in... oh, there's like an autism show now like...
Beth Demme (15:01):
Love on the Spectrum.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:02):
Love on the Spectrum.
Beth Demme (15:03):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:03):
And it's Australian, and it's all these people with autism, which is like so interesting because you would never be able to experience that in your life, like, I've never experienced that in my life, and the Australian culture is just very interesting.
Beth Demme (15:16):
I'm so fascinated by Australia, too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:17):
Beth Demme (15:18):
Oh my gosh. There's another episode idea.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:19):
Beth Demme (15:20):
But we probably have to record it on location. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:22):
Beth Demme (15:22):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:23):
In four years.
Beth Demme (15:24):
One of the things that I really appreciate about shows like the Little People, Big World show or other shows where you can kind of hear-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:31):
Experience life other than your own.
Beth Demme (15:32):
Yeah. And you can really hear from someone who that is their life experience, is it even helps build my vocabulary to understand that "Little People" is an appropriate term, that is the right phrase to use, or to use the medical term, which would be dwarfism. That is also an okay term. But there are lots of other terms that are offensive. And I don't think I necessarily knew that until I heard them discuss it on the show.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:57):
And it's highly offensive to pick a little person up.
Beth Demme (15:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:00):
That is never okay.
Beth Demme (16:01):
Right. Which makes total sense because-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:03):
Yeah. It seems offensive.
Beth Demme (16:05):
Right. As full grown adults, we don't want to be picked up either and so, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:09):
Beth Demme (16:10):
I also don't want to be patted on the head, FYI. You've never patted me on the head, but it just popped in my head. That's another thing I don't like. Why do people do that? Why do people-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:16):
Do people pat you on the head?
Beth Demme (16:18):
Actually, I haven't been patted on the head in a long time. But I have seen people pat people on the head, and even that upsets me. I'm like, that's so patronizing. Why are you doing that?
Beth Demme (16:29):
I wonder if this idea of, "Oh, I feel so sorry," I wonder if we do that instead of having the hard conversation, because it's easier.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:39):
I don't like being uncomfortable.
Beth Demme (16:40):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:41):
I don't like being... It's not a fun thing to be uncomfortable. So I do think that's like a human condition where it's like we're trying to dismiss it quickly, so we're not super uncomfortable. But I do think it's an... I don't like it, but I do think there are times when it's really important and I choose to be uncomfortable.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:00):
For example, early June when all of the Black Lives Matter protesting was really happening, that was uncomfortable. But I pushed through that uncomfort because I needed to, and I needed to listen. I need to still listen and be paying attention. And so those are instances where I'm not going to say like, "Oh, I feel so sorry for you that your life is so different than mine and then be done with it." It's like, "No, I want to hear what your life experience is and see how I can help make a change. What I need to do in my life to do things differently." So I think that's an instance where it's not okay to dismiss and to really listen.
Beth Demme (17:36):
Yeah. Or to say, "Oh, I'm so sorry that it's more likely that a Black man who's pulled over by a police will be shot and killed than if a White person is pulled over." Like, don't be sorry. Do something.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:48):
Yeah. And a lot those conversations are, "I'm so sorry for that, but..." No, no. Don't but on me, okay? No, no. Don't go there.
Beth Demme (17:56):
Keep your but to yourself.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:57):
Yes, exactly. But out. You are not wanting to actually listen and learn.
Beth Demme (18:03):
So there is a sense in which... in feeling sorry for someone is a defense mechanism or a way to avoid the harder, longer conversation. And I think that we miss out when we do that. We miss out on the learning. We miss out on the shared relationship that can be built. So empathy would be preferable to pity.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:26):
Yes. I would say for sure. And I think empathy is hard because... And having gone through Celebrate Recovery in the recovery program, there's like, I look at things a little bit different. One of the things I learned in recovery is to ask permission to ask. Before I just kind of run into a conversation about asking a million questions, I learned that I need to ask, "Can I ask some questions?" to give the person a chance to... So then I'll know, is that person open to having a conversation or are they not ready for that yet? And so it does sound like... I don't do it enough. Like, it feels really uncomfortable to ask permission to ask questions, but I have found it's really... I found it's really important and it really is, like, just that sets the stage so you don't have to feel uncomfortable asking questions. Like, they've given you permission. And I think that's really powerful for that interaction to happen.
Beth Demme (19:26):
For both people.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:27):
Beth Demme (19:28):
To be in a situation to give permission, but also to be in a situation to receive permission, that can be incredibly helpful in relationship building and seeing togetherness rather than seeing yourself as separate from everyone else. It's like, no, we're all in this together.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:44):
Exactly. Another thing that kind of was like, in the back of my mind from CR is kind of the empathy piece that you were talking about. If somebody said, "I'm really sad about..." Like, my grandmother died. My grandmother just died. If you were to say, "Oh, I know exactly how you feel. My grandmother died and this happened. And then this happened. Then this happened." And something that I learned was like, it's not about you. And even if you have the same exact situation, you don't know how that person feels, you don't. And it's not fair to say like, "Oh, I know exactly how you feel," because you don't. You might have some perspective and you can share that, but it's really, when someone's sharing, it's really kind of about them. And they're more than likely not looking for you to try to fix something and to say like, "Well, it's going to be better..."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:39):
We tend to do that because that's just what we do. But I try to be conscious of that in like, when somebody's going through something, I try to not say, "Oh, I totally understand what you're going through because my fifth cousin once died." It's different and it's not about me in this moment. And so that empathy piece makes me... I think it's super important to have empathy, but then I also, like, it's a thin line to me. It's like, how do you kind of figure out what empathy is without making the other person feel like... Like, if somebody says, "I know exactly how you feel," I'm like... I don't necessarily say it, but I kind of feel like, you don't know. You're not in my head. You don't know. Like that to me is not comforting to say, like, "I know exactly how you feel."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:27):
So I tryto not say that. I can't say I'm perfect in any way, but I try to think of that. It's not comforting when someone says that to me. So I try not to make conversations about me in those kind of moments.
Beth Demme (21:41):
I think it can be hard to offer empathy, but to be really clear about that boundary, that I'm not making this about me. There are phrases that we can use that would help us along in that, right? We can say, "I don't know how you're feeling, but I remember that when my grandmother died, I really felt like a piece of our family was missing. Maybe you're feeling something like that?" You can reflect.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:08):
And I think that's perfect. It's not to say, I don't know how you're feeling, but this is how I felt. And I think that's a big thing from CR, too, is to talk about you, not talk about how "we" feel. Don't use the "we" word, use I. This is how I felt when it happened. And they may, the person listening, might take something and realize, "Oh, I feel that way, too." Don't tell them how they feel. Tell them how you felt. And-
Beth Demme (22:33):
Because you don't know how they feel, actually.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:34):
Exactly. You don't. You don't, unless you ask for permission and they say yes, and you have a conversation and they really can open up and they may not even know how they feel also, yet, if it's like so new and things like that. I do think that is, it's hard, a hundred percent, it's hard. It's much easier to say, "I feel sorry for you" and boom, boom done. But it's something that I strive to do, is to offer more than pity, which is what it sounds like to me with that phrase.
Beth Demme (23:06):
We can actually apply that CR principle to this idea of feeling sorry for someone, because it's helpful to me to turn it back around on myself and say, "Okay, when I say, I feel sorry for so and so, what does that say about me? What am I actually communicating? Am I unwilling to see their value? Am I dismissing their experience? Am I saying my experience or my perspective is better?" And then that can create self-awareness and it can also be corrective, because I think usually if I say something like, "Well, I feel sorry for blah, blah, blah," I think I'm not being kind.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:44):
Beth Demme (23:45):
I think I'm being dismissive and I don't actually feel sorry, so I'm not even being truthful. Right? I'm just venting.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:52):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:56):
Now it's time for Questions for Reflection. These are questions based on today's show that we've written and you can answer them to yourself, or you can find a PDF on our website at dospod.us and stay tuned for Slice of Life.
Beth Demme (24:10):
Number one, when's the last time you felt sorry for someone? What was the situation? Number two, what is the difference between empathy and pity? Number three, has someone ever felt sorry for you? How did it make you feel? And number four, when you experience a situation you don't understand and you feel sorry for another person, do you feel sorry because your life experience is different from theirs and you can't understand their perspective? As you reflect on it, is you're feeling sorry about you or about them?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:49):
One thing I forgot to say in the episode is the graphic for this has a sad puppy in it. One thing I refuse is when people try to manipulate my emotions with sad puppies or sad, sad stories, like reality shows that just try to really make that sad, sad story. It's like, no, no, no, no. You are trying to make me feel sorry for whatever situation. You're trying to make me feel sorry, and manipulate me, and that's not okay.
Beth Demme (25:17):
It's such a standard part of every show, for sure, every reality show. I just started watching the World's Toughest Race on Amazon. And there are all of these teams who have these really compelling stories, but the one that really has got me hooked is the teams are four people, but there's this one team and it's a father and a son, and the father has been a really successful endurance racer. But now, he has Alzheimer's and that's why his son is on his team so he can kind of care for him. And so I'm totally hooked into the emotional aspect of it. I really want him to succeed.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:54):
Yeah. And I think that's the whole thing though, that I think that's part of the problem where we see this, we see this played over and over on TV where they're manipulating us to feel sorry for these people. And that is what they're trying to do. And then how are we supposed to act differently in our own lives when this is what we're seeing? So it's not okay, Hollywood. It's not okay, Vancouver.
Beth Demme (26:17):
Take a note.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:18):
Oh, okay. So I did want to share some feedback that we got in from an episode we did recently called Me F*ing Too. Do you remember that episode, Beth?
Beth Demme (26:28):
I do remember that episode.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:29):
Remember how we got along so well, and we had so many things that we agreed on?
Beth Demme (26:33):
We had an honest conversation, but we didn't always agree.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:37):
Which we got feedback that people like, hey. What can we disagree on next? We have to literally have to sit down and see what we don't agree on because sports, I don't like football, and you do. Is that something that's worth talking about?
Beth Demme (26:49):
I have a guilty pleasure for football. I feel guilty about that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:53):
And I think football is the root of bad things. Not all evil. That'll be a little much. I just grew up in a football town and I'm not okay with it because I get so frustrated by people that are so heated and emotional about a ball that they're not even playing the game of. Stop saying, "We won." You weren't on the field. You did not play.
Beth Demme (27:16):
The team appreciates my support and appreciates me as a fan. And so they are fine when I say "we won."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:22):
You did nothing, unless you went there though, to school?
Beth Demme (27:25):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:25):
Yeah. So at least I do give props if you went to the school. I went to UCF. Although I won't say we won the football game because I didn't go and I did not win, but... So I don't know. I don't know if that's worth a whole episode. I can get real heated on it, though.
Beth Demme (27:41):
We might've just covered it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:43):
Beth Demme (27:43):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:43):
Episode done. Yes, you're welcome.
Beth Demme (27:45):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:45):
But what I wanted to say is we actually got a really cool comment from a listener of the Me F*ing Too episode, which is episode 45, and I'm going to read it. It's on our website. They posted it on the written post for that episode, which is on our website, dospod.us. You're welcome to visit anytime. And yes, that is a website address. Isn't that cool, that .us is a... instead of .com. There's a .us.
Beth Demme (28:12):
Yeah .us. We like it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:14):
We picked that because it's like us.
Beth Demme (28:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:14):
Beth Demme (28:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:16):
Beth Demme (28:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:17):
Yes. I'm so glad we made that clear. Okay. So I'm going to read this. This is from John Wolf. He posted this. He said, "Whew, where to start? Okay. The first time ever in my life I'm going to do this. I'm actually crying now because I've never said this before. Here it goes. #metoo. That was hard to write. I feel ashamed because one, it's on the internet now, and two, for some stupid a reason, I feel like it was my fault. It's also hard to write because I feel like I'm also absorbing what has happened to everyone else as well. It's like a club that I do not want to be a member of."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:53):
"I love you and your mom, Steph. I'm fond of you too, Beth. You both are adorable beyond compare. I follow your MDP YouTube channel. And while I hate what you've gone through in your life, I love the kind of person it made you. I would a hundred percent post-COVID love to meet you and your mom someday, but I am so far from Florida. Keep being you. You're the best person for the job. Love from Baltimore, John... And now, all I have to do is hit the submit button. Whew..."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:20):
Well, John, thank you so much for hitting submit.
Beth Demme (29:22):
Thank you, John. Thank you for giving me a little shout out there. I, too, am a big fan of MDP, a big fan of what Steph and Vicki have going on there. And so I absolutely agree that that work is amazing. And I just want to say, John, I don't know you, but I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:39):
I'm proud of you, too.
Beth Demme (29:39):
... for posting the comment, for embracing the reality of me too in your own life. And I hope that that brings you maybe a little piece of healing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:51):
And John, I also agree, it's a club that I never wanted to join. But I think we might be getting t-shirts at some point. So it might be okay. That was a joke.
Beth Demme (30:02):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:02):
Yeah, lighten it up a little bit.
Beth Demme (30:04):
A t-shirt that's like, "I'm in the club I didn't want to be in."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:06):
Beth Demme (30:09):
Yeah. Well, so you guys know I'm married. Well, my husband doesn't always listen to the podcast actually.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:15):
Beth Demme (30:16):
But he listened to the Me Too episode. And his feedback was that he thought it was a really interesting conversation. And he felt like we covered a really tough topic from many angles of it and that he really appreciated that we were able to respectfully not agree. So if you haven't listened to the Me F*ing Too episode yet, I would encourage you to do that. We're getting good feedback on it.
Beth Demme (30:42):
I also want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Steph's book, Discovering My Scars. You can get it on our website, dospod.us. You can get it on her website, stephaniekostopoulos.com. You can get it on Amazon. You can listen to it on Audible. There's a really great reading of the foreword to the book on Audible.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:02):
That's probably the best part.
Beth Demme (31:04):
I recorded that part. So I would really encourage you to get that book because it ties in to so much of the work that we do here on the podcast, including today's episode. You talk in the book, Steph, about having been involuntarily, basically, admitted to a mental hospital. I mean, I think technically they considered it voluntary, but you did not knowingly volunteer to go, or voluntarily submit to go.
Beth Demme (31:30):
So I think that that's the kind of experience that people would be like, "Oh, I feel so sorry for Steph. She was in a mental hospital." Well, no, don't feel sorry for you. Right? Let's learn about what that experience was and how we can understand you by understanding that experience.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:44):
Exactly. And ultimately like, don't feel sorry for me that it happened. It brought me to where I am today and it just happened. There's bad things that happened and ultimately, what it pushes me to do, having gone through that experience, is to help make changes so this doesn't keep happening to other people. And that's, I think, what's more healthy than feeling sorry for me, is learning about the story and hearing and thinking, "Oh, well, that's not right. I don't want other people to go through that. How can I help make a change?" And I think that's the whole point of sharing these kind of things and protests and all those kinds of things is to make people aware so that they can potentially change their behaviors to make the world a better, more cohesive place for all of us.
Beth Demme (32:26):
That's much better than just feeling sorry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:28):
Exactly. So, thanks for joining us today. This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
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Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.
I'm a mom who laughs a lot, mainly at myself. #UMC Pastor, recent Seminary grad, public speaker, blogger, and sometimes lawyer. Learning to #LiveLoved.