We often see things in black and white too often. We see a person perform a certain action and we immediately assume something about them. We see someone wearing a certain outfit and we instantly form an opinion about them. We hear them say something and we quickly make a decision about who they are. We form our opinions based on our own experiences and preconceptions about the world when in reality, people are far more complicated than that. Humans are not black and white beings, we have depth and layers to us that create the complicated people that we are. Because of this complexity, the people we see in the world are not these shallow caricatures that we believe them to be. Their actions and words are not necessarily what we think they are at face value. This applies to how a person responds to us when we express our struggles and emotions.
We know how annoying it can be when we put ourselves out there and the response is not what we envisioned or wanted. We are told “Well, just keep thinking positive” or “You can be happy” as if we can just turn on a switch and everything will be okay. We think all of us would gladly flip that switch if we could. But that’s not the way it is and so these kinds of comments are misguided. But that’s what we need to remember about them: they are misguided, not malicious. While the words may hurt us to some degree, we shouldn’t assume that the person is saying them with an intent to hurt. Intentions can often differ greatly from reception, and while that doesn’t mean we should sit idly by and let these words be spoken, we can keep ourselves grounded and not let our anger get the better of us. Sometimes, the person may truly have good intentions in saying what they say; they may have just said the wrong thing. Haven’t we all said the wrong thing at some point in our lives? That’s something everyone experiences at some point so we shouldn’t hold it over anyone else who does. Think about where they are coming from and what they are trying to do. The people who love us won’t be trying to hurt us. Of course, there may be people who are, but again, we have to determine that ourselves before jumping to that conclusion. And if that person does care about us and does want to get better, then we can talk with them about it. If they listen to us, they will see the error of their ways and change. And then if they don’t improve, then that changes things as well. But first, we can’t immediately believe that someone is trying to hurt us.
Knowing the Right Thing to Say and Dealing with the Wrong Words
For those of you who may be in the position of saying these wrong things, think about your words. Keep in mind the person you are talking to and how they may react to certain things. Everyone is unique and you know us best, so keep us in mind when forming the sentences. Understand that some things just don’t come easy for us and we can’t control certain parts of our emotions and thoughts. Asking us to think positively is a good thing but the issue goes much deeper than that. Validate our struggles, let us know that you see our struggles and the work we put into overcoming them and be there for us. The fact that you want to help us and support us is incredible, we will always be grateful for that. But always think about your actions and words, and do your best to be there for us in the healthiest way.
We can’t look at the world through a black and white lens. The way we are, the way life is, is just far too complicated to be boiled down to this simple viewpoint. We have to extend our understanding and patience with the things that irk us. We know how hard it is to hear certain things but that doesn’t mean we should immediately write the person off who said it. We can find out what their intentions were, remember what they are trying to do for us, and we can move past our anger and resentment. For people who say these things, remember where we come from and how words can affect us. Remember to validate us in what we fight for on a daily basis. We can extend our patience and grace to you, just as you can do for us. This constant striving for understanding can do so much to minimize conflict and take away any anger that is unnecessary. Our complexities are the reason why we are such beautiful creatures and we can’t forget that. Our complexities, for better or worse, make us human and that is the greatest gift.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us today at (866) 399-6528.