Are you trying to get loved ones to look on the bright side?(DW#738 )

We have been talking about checking in with family members.

What do we do though, if they share that they are struggling or not feeling great emotionally?

How do we make them feel better? How do we cheer them up?

Have you tried any of the following?

·      You’ll be fine.

·      Let’s focus on gratitude.

·      It could be worse!

·      We have it better than so many people.

·      At least it’s not [fill in the blank].

·      Look on the bright side

·      Just put a smile on your face and tough it out.

·      This too shall pass.

·      Don’t worry; things will work out.

·      You/We shouldn’t feel that way.

·      That’s what you’re upset about? It’s not that big of a deal.

·      We have nothing to complain about so let us not.

·      Let’s be positive and everything will work out.

·      Be strong!

·      Come on, it’s not that bad.

·      Why don’t you focus on the positive?

When we say any version of the above, even with the best of intentions, we may notice that they don’t work very well. In fact, statements like these often seem to make the situation worse. Now, on top of being upset, the other person is also mad at us!

Let us try and understand why.

When someone shares how they are feeling, they are hoping to be heard and understood. They are looking for validation – the confirmation that what they are feeling makes sense.

When we say any version of the above statements, it minimizes or dismisses how the other is feeling. We are unknowingly suggesting that they are being irrational and/or that they "shouldn’t" feel the way they that they are.

And so it is no wonder that they get more upset.
Minimizing someone’s feelings will never ever cheer them up.


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