Thursday, December 15, 2011
Spin-Off: How to Deal with Unwanted and Unsolicited Comments About Your Health Challenge
Hi, healers! I'm so glad you enjoyed my last post centered on how to deal with criticism from family and friends surrounding your alternative diets and lifestyles (namely veganism and Gerson Therapy). It was inspired by several requests from you to write about the topic because I have not received criticism from family and friends. I've received another spin-off request to discuss the topic of unwanted and unsolicited comments concerning your specific health challenge. Have you seen a handful of doctors and several specialists? Have you spent days upon days researching treatment options? Have you tried several medications and interventions? If so, you may be one of the individuals absolutely repulsed when someone you know, who also knows nothing about your particular health challenge, attempts to diagnose you and offer treatment options as if you have been sequestered from mainstream society since your diagnosis. It can be infuriating, especially when the unwanted comments are aimed toward you as a parent and caregiver of a sick child.
Here's the deal, most people mean well but their best attempts at "helping" often fail when done without compassionate contemplation before speaking. Most people have NO social CLUE how to interact with someone who is ill. Often, they say and do all of the wrong things because they don't know any better. How many of you have been on the receiving end of the, "But, you look so good," comment? Or how about the, "You're too young to be sick," brain fart. Or what about the, "It can't be THAT bad," blunder? Believe it or not, those clueless comments are often people's attempts at being supportive when all someone who is suffering wants to hear is a simple, "That must suck! Can I do anything to help?" Acknowledgment, validation, and offering a helping hand can go a long way in maintaining and strengthening relationships with the ill.
Then, there are those people who lack proper social etiquette, clear boundaries, and the ability to empathize. Their comments can be relentless and insulting, so it is important that you bite the bullet immediately and set up and communicate clear boundaries from day one. If they continue to violate your set boundaries, you may have to remove yourself from the relationship for the time being or for forever. That is your choice. In the end, your health is priority number one.
This can also be a fantastic time to go within and examine why it is that these individuals press your buttons. Deep down, do you agree with their comments about yourself? Is your self-worth compromised? Do they mirror back to you something you need to change about yourself? Remember, every crisis is an opportunity for growth, so if something has you feeling uncomfortable, that is a cue to look for the lesson. And if every crisis is an opportunity for growth, every person we come across is a teacher. Allow yourself to sink into the lesson being shown to you before you jump to feelings of anger and frustration. You'll miss the sacred moments if you spend all of your energy blaming others for your perceived misfortunes.