I’ve encountered a lot of people throughout the years who were victims of horrible situations. When you hear someone’s heart wrenching story and you’re being touched, it is important to not get stuck in that feeling.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a young man. His story is incredibly sad. He was an unaccompanied refugee boy who was being smuggled to Scandinavia from Eritrea when he was 14. His parents paid all their life savings to the man who was going to ensure that he ended up there.

During the trip North, the young boy was sold by the smuggler to pedophiles along the way. He was sexually assaulted and raped on a daily basis for several months.

I met him at a refugee center just a week after he had arrived to Scandinavia. I had the privilege of making sure that he received the care and help that he needed.

It’s been incredible to follow his journey. He is 21 years old today. In college and on his way to fulfill his dreams.

In the e-mail I received yesterday he wrote: “My past is very painful and I’ve had a lot of people wanting to help me. You are one of them. When you heard my story, you showed a lot of compassion. You did not get stuck feeling sorry for me though. Instead of suffocating me with pity, you empowered me to help myself!”

He continuous to write how so many people wanted to take his story and make it into their cause.

I’m sitting here reading the letter again and thinking what fantastic wisdom. At such a young age he has already put the finger on something that is one of the biggest hinders in working with people. We let our own feelings and interpretations get in the way. We let our own agendas get in the way.

This kid is going to become a great leader one day. And he has already learned this necessary lesson. We cannot guide and lead people in an effective way, if we let our own feelings, agendas and interpretations be our guide. We must learn to evoke these things from the individual.

Feeling sorry for people has never helped them to move forward, rather the opposite, it leads people to getting stuck.

Have a brilliant day!

Ulf Lidman

Feeling sorry for people is not helping.