I really love this Dear Sugar conversation and the message that a person is a valid vessel of the pain he feels, that he need not tell an untrue account of himself so that others will have him. Claim the right to tell a true story and a true self!, as Cheryl and Steve say. I shared this to Ian, and he reminded me of a talk he had heard by former archbishop Rowan Williams which addresses the step after telling a true self—about the empathy with which that self is received. Ian paraphrased it as “we should be careful not to presume that feeling empathy towards another is actually accessing the exact internal feeling of that other person. When we empathize, we are bringing to that experience a lot of our own perspective—what we think we know about the other person that can often be wrong.” That is so beautiful. Who can know the true pain that is really inside someone's self?