People often say to “look on the bright side” when you’re feeling down. While the sentiment comes with good intentions, how it’s received can be a very different story; it can seem insensitive and leave you feeling unheard and invalidated. You may smile when hearing it, but feel genuinely hurt and possibly even more broken than you felt before.
I remember confiding in a friend once about how sad and depressed I felt. She responded by telling me to just think of someone worse off and I would feel better. While this exchange occurred more than ten years ago, the wound that developed from the interaction still feels fresh.
Many people don’t understand the difference between having an off day and being depressed. They may not know what to say. They may be unable to deal with their own feelings let alone be able to handle yours. Often times people’s reactions to your emotions have more to do with them than you. Sometimes you just have to learn who you can turn to and have the courage to keep trying. I know it’s no easy task. The more times you’re rejected when vulnerable, the greater the desire to shut down. But there is value in sharing your pain with others. If you do it with the right person, (and this may be the right therapist) it can open you up, heal you and then you’ll be able to look on the bright side – because surprisingly, there actually is one.
Compassion can be spawned from painful moments and creativity can come from traumatic experiences. When we’re well enough to see through the clouds, there is a space where compassion, hope and positivity can grow. May this week’s post motivate you to get the help you need, find ways to cope with a difficult past or develop compassion for those who are suffering even more than you.
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