I have a friend that asks “Gentle or Blunt?” if I go to her for advice. Another friend asks a similar question in a similar way “Do you want advice or compassion?” and you know what my answer always is? Go the gentle route.
I don’t ever want tough love, no sir. I don’t like it, I don’t respond well to getting my ass kicked and I don’t treat anyone else that way so I know it’s do-able to treat others with gentleness and care rather than whipping them into shape.
What I’m struggling with today is the strong urge people have to tell others what to do. Usually the ones least capable in their own lives. What pisses me off most are the stupid, self-righteous regurgitations of stupid placards or car stickers or worse still, “Oprahisms” or advice where they repeat the latest motivational quote from Tony Robbins or Cheryl Brown; eg –
“You can choose your thoughts like you choose your outfit in the morning – just CHOOSE to be happy”
I have a medical illness in that my serotonin levels in my BRAIN are incredibly low. I can’t CHOOSE the way my internal chemicals are functioning any more than I can choose to change the weather – so you can fuck right off with that advice.
“It’s all in your head – stop stressing about it”
Just like when you’re drowning, its all in your lungs, hey? PISS OFF.
“If you let bullies see that they’re hurting you, you’re letting them win – so just don’t take anything on board that they say”
So I’ll just reach into my head and heart and turn myself off, then shall I? Of course. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? Thanks a bunch.
“Don’t allow bullying into your life”
As if I’ve held a door open and invited the bastards in. As if I have a choice in whether I get bullied or not. Do you know how fucking frustrating that is?!? How bad that makes me feel that you’re putting the responsibility for being jeered at and mocked on me? It’s fucking disgraceful is what it is. SHUT UP.
“We can’t change the past or the future, we can only deal with the now – that’s why it’s called the PRESENT because it’s a GIFT to us all”
Puke. Puke. Puke.
Here’s my 2 cents on this contentious bloody topic – Just be kind.
Don’t give out sanctimonious advice because the person that’s badly hurting doesn’t need to hear it. It makes them feel about 100x worse. What they need is for you to listen. To be there. To hold their hand or to offer support and encouragement.
“Oh man, that sucks”
“Yeah I can understand how that would make you feel anxious/stressed/unhappy”
“I’m in your corner, you’re not alone”
“I hear you”
“That must be really hard for you to process/cope with/live through”
And if you can’t say anything at all, offer a cup of tea or a donut. Or both. See how that goes.