What is the Suffering Trophy?

Sometimes when people come to us with a complaint, they need validation — not advice.

When you feel really passionate about something, it’s hard not to share it with the world. Especially after New Year’s when we all have our shiny new healthy habits at the top of mind.

But has this scenario ever happened to you?

One of your friends comes to you really upset. Say they’re suffering from insomnia and they’re like “life is really hard right now and I don’t know what to do.”

Now you’re like “hey! I just started [insert healthy habit] and I think it may help this problem you’re facing a lot.”

But then your friend pushes back — they’re not interested in your suggestions.

“Yes Emily, that happens all the time!” You’re yelling right now.

Well here’s why. Sometimes when people come to us with a complaint, they’re not looking for help. Sometimes they’re looking for what I call the “suffering trophy.” They need validation — not advice.

How to identify if someone wants the suffering trophy

As a meditation teacher, I’ve become quite skilled at identifying whether someone is asking for your help or if they’re just looking for someone to hear them out. That’s why in this video I share some tools on:

  • What question to ask to determine whether someone is asking for the suffering trophy
  • How to identify something I call “worthy inquiry”
  • The proper way to give someone the suffering trophy without watering their weeds

In the video, I also share why it’s OK to want the suffering trophy (plus I share a recent example of when I needed validation in my suffering — not advice).

Watch What is the Suffering Trophy

I hope this video helps you negotiate some of those tricky conversations. Plus I hope it empowers you to give your loved ones the suffering trophy if needed, without contributing negatively. Happy watching!

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