“I was in a grocery store” a woman wrote. “Pushing the cart around when a lady approached me and said, ‘Cheer up! You look so sad. Nothing can be that bad.’ I watched her bustle away as tears rolled down my cheeks. My son had died four days earlier. This was the first time I’d gone shopping and not bought his favorite foods.”
Another story. The writer had been diagnosed with a serious but not immediately fatal disease. The first time she attended a support group for people with this diagnosis, she listened for a few minutes, then stood and said, “You’re all so depressed and depressing. I’m not going to allow this to ruin my life. You have to learn to get over this.” I didn’t read any more of the book.
What do you think about these stories? I’m going to give you a few minutes to think. Then, as usual, I’m going to give my opinion.
Okay, here are my thoughts. There are people who believe we should be smiling all the time. These people may have a mental condition or they may just be thoughtless and insensitive. Normal people grieve. Normal people don’t smile all the time. Normal people are often in a blanced mood, neither up or down. Normal people don’t tell others how they should feel without knowing their histories–or, even if they do know their backgrounds. It’s not a bit hlepful.
With the second story, I truly believe the writer thought she’d sent a good and optimistic message to that group. She hadn’t. Any time we’re diagnosed with an illness, it’s unsettling. Joining a support group is a healthy step. I have the same disease this writer had and learned a great deal in the support group I attended. I wonder if the seriousness of this problem ever hit this woman or if she’s lived in constant denial.
My ultimate thought is that we love and support others. We don’t judge others because we do not know what others are experiencing. One of my favorite quotes is about: Be kind because everyone you meet is facing a hard battle.