I harbor a great deal of resentment towards the positivity movement. When I am sharing a struggle, I do not need to hear “think positive” or “everything happens for a reason.” Even if you believe that everything happens for a reason, there are some things that happen and they are just so incredibly painful that I can’t accept that response. In fact, it feels like you are minimizing my experience. Am I just supposed to feel better because there is a reason out in the ether for all of this? What I hear when you say phrases like that is”your pain is too uncomfortable for me and I need to make this conversation stop.”
For some people, life offers up some seriously messed up situations and there is no positive way to spin it, make it good, or make it make sense. By all means, please use whatever faith system you have to make sense of suffering but please do not expect me to accept your coping mechanisms as my own.
There are some things that happen and they are so traumatic and so awful that there is nothing else to be said about them. There is no going back and reflecting on the situation in the hopes that it will somehow or someday make sense. This is about acceptance. We must accept that this thing(s) happened. We must stare at it and absorb the truth of it and understand that it will always be part of us. There are no pretty bows or lines of poetry to soften the impact.
If you happen to be present when someone is sharing one of these life moments with you, please, please do not tell them that “everything happens for a reason” or “think positive” or “it’s all in God’s plan.” Those phrases do not make anyone feel better. They make people feel worse. Because, why would God plan for me to suffer so much? I bet you can’t answer that question because you’re not God. So, it’s best to leave it alone. It’s fine to think everything happens for a reason and believe it to be true, it’s just not okay to say it.
What can you say?
“I am so sorry and sad this happened to you/or is happening to you.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
“I love you and I’m here for you”
If you are the person suffering? You can say to yourself:
“I am so sad and sorry this happened to me, I am just so sad this happened”
“This is really hard for me right now”
“It’s okay to not be okay”
“I will probably never get over this”
“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow