Little Miss Merry Sunshine
Empathy, not sympathy...
Some days I feel positive and optimistic, while other days…not so much. Generally, this doesn’t pose a problem, because thankfully when I am not feeling particularly ‘chipper’ or positive, it is only for a brief period of time. Nevertheless, on the days when I am not feeling particularly ‘happy’, it never seems to fail, some well-intended soul feels compelled to ‘cheer’ me up. Most times and most days I welcome positivity and well wishes, but when a person approaches me with ‘rays of sunshine’ spewing out their ass, I just feel like punching them in the throat.
I know about faith and I believe in God. I know there is a purpose and plan for all things, good and bad, that happen, just because I experience a moment of weakness does not mean I have lost sight of that. Yet, so often, that is the one thing the overly optimistic person overlooks and zeros in on. God forbid you not put on a happy face or be positive, even if it is only temporary, they automatically assume you are not trusting God’s plan or have lost faith. These are often times the same people we have helped overcome their moments of depression and despair. Yeah, ‘Little Miss Merry Sunshine’ didn’t always have those rays of sunshine spewing out of her ass. Funny how they seem to forget that once they are in a good place and you are not. This is when I want to beat them down.
Have they forgotten how many times they were picked up over the years, or someone tried to help them through a ‘dark period?’ Is this the same person you had to listen to whine and complain about how crappy their life was or how unfair it seemed? Don’t get me wrong, I love being there, and being supportive of my friends, I just find it incredibly annoying how quickly people forget when they were unhappy with their own life and what was going on, when they were the ones going through shit, and now fault you for it.
How quickly we forget just how difficult it is to overcome and endure those moments, when we are no longer the ones going through them. This is why I find it so annoying when someone needs a listening ear or a comforting hug and instead, becomes inundated with advice or criticism about how better to deal with their situation, or how you need to go back to church, or find God, or that you have lost faith. No one needs or wants to be placated, spoken down to, babied, or spoke to in a condescendingly sweet manner. Just let them vent for a bit, cope with, and deal with, whatever it is, they may be going through, in their own way, in their own time. This doesn’t mean they have lost faith or they don’t see that there is a plan and purpose for everything-it is just not always as simple as just picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, this is a process, and it takes time. Not everyone is going to arrive at that place of optimism and hope right away though. This does not mean we will not get there or we are incapable of seeing the ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel, merely that we are struggling to see that light when we are buried beneath the pile of manure that is covering us up at the time.
You’re happy, you’re in love, you’re in a good place, that’s wonderful, just don’t forget, you were not and may not, always be in that place, and should you ever find yourself in any other place, other than your ‘sunshine and lollipop’ world, you may need a friend to lean on and see you through. No one wants you to feel sorry for him or her, or take pity on him or her, just listen, and be supportive.
Most don’t intend on being a martyr or giving up or giving in, just give them a minute to catch their breath and they will be back to their optimistic, cheerful, self-but for now, they are hurt and pissed off, and the last thing they want to hear right now is how perfectly happy you are, with your perfect life, perfect partner, and or your unflappable faith. Sometimes it feels like rubbing salt in the wounds of the wounded. Empathy is the key here, not sympathy. Sometimes saying nothing at all speaks more to a person’s pain than saying something to ease their pain. If someone you love is grieving, angry, hurting, or in a 'dark place' and you don't know what to say or do, think of yourself as a 'nightlight'-if you're plugged in, that is enough.