People say you make more of your problem than you should. You know their names.
They use a variety of expressions:
- Get over it!
- Man up!
- Don’t be a baby!
- It’s not so bad!
- Buck up!
- Others have it worse!
- Be a man!
- You need to tap your will power!
- I’ve gotten over worse myself!
Your critic implies pain is a competition. If you gain the gold or silver medal, your hurt is justifiable to them. The rest of humanity, you included, ought to recover. Soon.
There are always those who score higher on the calamity scale, but their misfortune is irrelevant to your condition.
You are not a rubber ball, ready for a quick rebound. Even spheroids deflate or lose elasticity.
Many of those who utter such phrases claim they mean to be encouraging. Maybe they also throw in the expression, “You are feeling sorry for yourself.”
Self-care requires self-soothing. Grant your afflicted soul sympathy, not censure.
The friends who judge can be impatient. They suggest you’ve been down too long. A stopwatch does not enable recovery. Slip-ups and relapses happen. A hostile world can grind away, predicaments pile up and add to one’s adversity.
As Hamlet’s Uncle said to his wife,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
It isn’t unusual for the other to offer examples of those who found a way to thrive after a catastrophe. All praise to such extraordinary people, I say. Yet comparisons like these are a bit like standing you next to Michael Jordan and demanding you play basketball on his level.
Oh yeah, sorry, I forget you are 5’2″ and 45 years old. My mistake.
Sometimes the man indicting you points to an incredible story of bravery or loss, someone who survived mass murder or genocide. In effect, he tells you, “If he cleared the hurdles, why can’t you?”
Such an acquaintance neglects to mention all those who didn’t survive or triumph, the ones whose stories we never read or hear, many of them dead.
The fellow’s implication is that you are unnecessarily weak when you should be tough and resilient. Perhaps he thinks you bear the stamp of moral failure, a lack of character. The bloke shadows you with shame.
Whatever his motive, he provides nothing of value with words like this and much for which he might deserve blame.
I’m assuming you are making an effort. I hope you recognize your shortcomings.
It is in your interest to make the changes you need. If you are 600 lbs. and you believe a diet of soft drinks and pizza are the royal road to weight loss, the other might be alert to an issue you would be wise to address.
Frustration comes with the job of observing somebody you care about fall short. The fellow pointing his finger may be well-intentioned and clumsy with language. Recall whatever kindnesses he offers you or contributed previously.
Your task awaits: heal. Time passes, challenges persist, try again. Give yourself patience and love. Find the proper remedy with professional help.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 of the Hebrew Bible recognizes not all hardship is deserved:
Yet another thing I observed under the sun is that races aren’t won by the swift or battles by the strong, and food doesn’t go to the wise or wealth to the intelligent or favor to the experts; rather, time and chance rule them all.
Uncontrollable events may befall you, but no law compels you to be still and wait for them. Our human race is capable of creation and accomplishment. Search for a fruitful path to your own agency.
The adventure of existence continues with or without your participation. The old baseball cliche reminds us: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes the games are rained out.
For quite a few people, just surviving in the period of a pandemic is a heroic achievement. Give yourself credit.
Dissent and criticism, judgment, and shame are everpresent. Listening to disapproval remains a choice.
Walk away if possible, dismiss accusers if conditions permit, assert your worth if this is in you. Not every accusation requires a rebuttal. Again, counseling can provide assistance.
Action awaits, even if you are not now ready. Prepare as you can. Please remember what Chicago’s legendary Studs Terkel used to say:
“Take it easy but take it.”
The first image is a Frown of Disapproval authored by Me. The second is the Frown photo of Rebecca Partington. Both are sourced from Wikimedia Commons.