When someone is upset, we try to cheer them up. It’s not that we are trained that way, but if you notice we often try to share positive thoughts and perhaps even our own experiences, give them some encouraging words and make them feel optimistic.
This is what I used to do, till an incident changed my approach.
I was casually talking with a friend about how life had changed a lot since college. I’m not sure what exactly triggered that thought, but my friend started pouring out her problems that started shortly after college. She was venting about how everyone around her was being unreasonable. Nobody cared enough to understand what she was going through. She went on and on, and I didn’t interrupt her. I felt she would be better if she spoke about it.
Doesn’t everyone have problems to deal with?After she stopped speaking, for almost 5 minutes none of us spoke. She then felt guilty for burdening me with her troubles. I told her it was fine, because I was going through some problems too, both personally and professionally, and that I could totally relate to her. She was shocked. I was surprised at her reaction. For a minute she left all her problems and asked me in a sarcastic way what could possibly be wrong in my life. I was slightly annoyed and asked her what was wrong if I had problems.
She apologized and told me that I did not come across as a person who might have a lot of issues bothering me. She said I was always optimistic and happy and eating with family and friends (thanks to my Facebook updates). To clear her doubts, and to clear my mind I shared a few instances where I’d completely lost it with friends/family/colleagues and I assured her that I had my own share of troubles. I added that I did not wish to talk about it openly and I had a different way to deal with them.
My friend’s face brightened up. She said that she felt better. I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that, these days almost everyone projects themselves and their life style (again, thanks to Social Media) in a very happy way that she felt none of them actually had problems to face, at least as much as hers. But now, having heard that even I had similar issues, she was happy that she was not alone.
Later that day, when I was thinking of our conversation, I smiled thinking how I had indirectly cheered up my friend. I also realized that, like her and like me, everyone has problems to deal with. We might stand outside and wonder what could possibly go wrong in their lives, but when we take a step closer to them we might know what bothers them. Despite that pressure, some people learn not to be worried all the time and make an effort to enjoy and be happy. They try to deal with it in the best possible way and come up with a solution. I’m sure there are many people around us in such situations and we could definitely learn a lot from them. So the difference is about how people deal with it.
After all, the grass is/seems greener on the other side. But when you eventually make it to the other side, sometimes you would realize it was no better than where you were initially.
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