Friday, 8 April 2011

It Does Not Help to Discount Others' Feelings

Every human being wants to have his/her feelings recognised and acknowledged. Somehow we have this innate urge to be the 'most' in everything, like the happiest, saddest, proudest, worst, most terrible, most painful, etc.

If one person says oh, the surgery hurt, and you said mine did too, the doc cut me 3 more inches deeper than yours, or my job is bad, you'll say - no, your job isn't that bad, my job is the worst!

Example: I feel so bad, my job is okay, but I find myself dragging my feet to work every morning, I wish I can enjoy my work but I hate my current job.
It doesn't make that person feel better by saying: "You are ungrateful/should count your blessing/do you know how many unemployed people are out there in this economic uncertainty".. and you launch into a lecture or worse, a personal attack on the already stressed out individual.

Yeah, you have many more 'worse' stories but just because you are comparing does not mean that individual will feel any less worse or even feel better about his/her current job!

Acknowledge the feelings first, give that reassurance that you are recognising the feelings, and then slowly, see if you can offer some help or advice, usually people take the short cut and force-feed such individuals that caused them to feel worse about themselves or even worse, shut down altogether and will not attempt to reach out to anyone anymore. This is very sad, especially in cases where a simply word of concern can make one feel better. This is where we get : 'No one understands me' phrases cos too often, humans jump the line and offer their 'better or worse stories' and give a piece of their mind that shut the individual up and retreat into his/her own cave.

Yeah, I understand the need for comparison for a certain level of motivation to improve and for the advancement of 'humankind', that kinda idealism. Despite that, we should remember that our quest to feel the 'most' does not mean we could discount others' feelings too.

When people are sharing their negative feelings, it simply means they are ranting/complaining/need reassurance - Since they need acknowledgment of their feelings, give it to them and keep your advice or 'greater stories' to yourself unless asked/requested. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others by acknowledging their feelings and the world will be a more peaceful place.