There’s a book called “Bright Sided.” I haven’t read it. But I know what it’s about, and I identify. I am the one who’s grateful for having my life and my health when my whole house has blown down. But…
After years of feeling like a negative person, because all the positivity crap bothered me, I finally realized what’s missing from that bright-side message. We are skipping acknowledgment. Yes, if you lost your home in Hurricane Harvey you might feel lucky to escape with your life and family, but that does not diminish the fact that you lost all you possess on this earth. So often, we respond to people’s tragedy with, “yes, but…” blah blah blah all the things you should be grateful for.
We skip the part that recognizes their pain. There is ALWAYS some way things could’ve been worse – always something to be grateful for. But where is it written that we can’t be both grateful and grief-stricken at the same time? So, the next time someone you know is going through something hard, resist the urge to point out the positives before you acknowledge their situation. A statement as simple as, “Man, that sucks,” can go a long way. People’s pain and struggle needs to be recognized before they can really move on.
I KNOW this. I refused to acknowledge my own pain for decades, and instead jumped over that phase to the “how am I going to fix it” phase. That doesn’t work so well. Don’t skip the acknowledgment. Sometimes, life is hard and just because someone else has it harder, doesn’t mean you’re not in pain. That pain doesn’t exclude you from personal responsibility, but it does deserve to be recognized. So say “hello” to your pain, or someone else’s. Look it in the eye. Really see it. For as long as it needs to be seen. THEN, get to what’s next.