After being diagnosed, we still face challenges when people who don’t understand our illness make comments.
“Why don’t you exercise more?”
“I bet if you ate healthier you wouldn’t be so sick."
“You need to be taking ____ pills, they’ll cure you for sure.”
“My friend's cousin had the same thing and she just worked hard and got over it. She didn’t just sit on the couch being lazy.”
"Sometimes these things are really just in people's head. You just gotta be more positive and will yourself to be healthy."
Those comments cut deep. We hear you saying:
“You're a liar.”
“You just want attention."
There is power in one’s ability to listen well. Sometimes I don’t want advice (I may already know the answer) and I don’t want you to solve my problems. I just want to know that I’m heard and understood. That’s often enough to turn everything around for me.
“I believe you.”
“I’m here for you.”
“I care about you.”
"I hear you."
"Can you tell me more? I want to really understand what you're going through."
are incredibly healing. If you worry about saying the wrong thing, those phrases are a great place to start.
I LOVE this video. It's a bit ridiculous because it highlights how irrational we can be. But I feel I can relate to the girl at times. More than anything I want you to understand me and listen to me. After I feel listened to and understood, I'm much more willing to be open to what you have to say.
Last night I felt pretty awful after overdoing that day. I was too dizzy to move or look at a screen. I lay in bed like a zombie, unable to bring myself to do anything.
I was really discouraged and decided to 'vent' to a friend. All she did was listen and say things like,
"I'm sorry you're feeling this way."
"I can pray for you."
"That makes sense."
"I follow what you're saying."
After our short conversation I felt so much better! I think I really just wanted to not be alone in what I was feeling, and have someone else walk through it with me. I didn't want her to try to find a solution to everything, because I don't think there is one easy fix.
Bottom line - even when the problem may be super obvious, like a nail in the head, don't just butt in with your advice. First make sure your friend feels listened to and understood. Your ability to just listen will go a long way.