She just tried to cheer you up, but what she said made you feel even more demoralized and disheartened. He said: “Try harder,” but you think you’re doing your very best. They said, “Snap out of it.” Yet you feel that you cannot simply talk yourself out of this sad mood.
Healing is not about “getting over it,” sweet friends. It is about making peace with your pain. It is about finding purpose in your life again.
Stop telling your sad friend to “smile” or “cheer up.” No one wants their feelings oversimplified. She may look a certain way on the outside; but that may be no reflection of how she feels on the inside. How many times have you tried to hide how you truly feel? We all do, my friends.
Sometimes, we are uneasy or even ashamed of our emotions. You fear that if “he really knew,” then you will be judged. We fret that we may be seen as a less than perfect parent or worker or friend.
It takes a great deal of confidence and courage to share the hurt you may feel inside. Please make her feel safe if she opens up to you. Do not measure or match her heartache or compare it to yours. Sure, it could almost always “be worse.” If you say that to him, will it make him feel understood or empathized with?
It is quite relative. You may think something is nothing but an irritating glitch, while he experiences it is as an overwhelming challenge. You may be tempted to say: “You think you have problems – just think about so and so…” Please do not. Many of us don’t always have the inner strength to cope with stress in a healthy way.
Not understanding why we feel anxious or sad can compound our heavy-heartedness. As much as we believe we can step into his kicks or her stilettos, we truly cannot know what it feels like to be “them.” Speaking of cool footwear, do you know anyone who makes shoe contact before eye contact? Me, too. For some of us, happiness is only a pair of shoes away. Listen, the only things kids wear out faster than their shoes are their parents.
But on a serious note, listen and do not minimize her perceptions and inner feelings. We can all use lifestyle changes to help us deal with the stressors of daily life. Always try to soothe and reassure him that you care about him. Sometimes, just sitting with her or grabbing a cup of coffee can be more healing than struggling to find the right words. Greet her with some mugs and kisses. What happened when one friend forgot to brew her friend a coffee? Their friendship came to a bitter end.
But truly, it’s okay to say to him, “I really don’t know what to say right now.” Speaking of which, if ignorance is bliss, why aren’t there more happy people in the world? The truth is that the ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance. By the way, social media may not cause ignorance, but it sure is effective at documenting it.
At times we all put on a good face for the benefit of others. We don’t necessarily want to call attention to our sadness. Offer to spend time with her, or simply ask him how he feels. Instead of telling her she “should” relax or go out to eat, offer to take her out. Surprise her with groceries. Everyone is posting their vacation pictures, and I’m like: “I went to the grocery store.” And you know what they say: Forget about being world famous; it’s hard enough just getting the automatic doors at the supermarket to acknowledge our existence.
But truly, you can suggest simply going for a walk with him. Heck, if by “clubbing” you mean eating club sandwiches, then “yes,” I enjoy clubbing. I once went to a fancy French restaurant called Déjà Vu. The headwaiter said, “Don’t I know you?”
A dip in your mood may not be the same as a prevailing sense of defeatism. Encourage loved ones and friends to express their feelings out loud. Trust me, that is helpful. Pain can feel non-stop and never-ending. Remind them that it may take a bit of time till they feel better, but they must never lose hope.
Not everything is as rose-colored as it seems. Despite having a home, family, or friends, we are all vulnerable to heaviness of the heart at times. Try not to allow yourself to get consumed with self condemnation, deep regret, or sorrow. Just being there is an exquisite gift to someone battling depression or sadness.
As always, please keep that sense of humor. Here’s a free life hack: Save time by crying about two things at the same time. It’s been said that a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. May you be blessed with all three.