If every crisis is an opportunity for growth, every person we come across is a teacher.
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 who is shaken 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 and all technology 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. Below are three ways to handle criticisms of your health journey.
1. Understand that people mean well (most of the time).
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 clue how to interact with someone who is facing a health crisis. 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.
But all someone who is suffering wants to hear is a simple, “That must be awful! Can I do anything to help?”
Acknowledgment, validation, and offering a helping hand can go a long way toward maintaining and strengthening relationships with those who are managing a health condition.
2. Set up and communicate clear and healthy boundaries.
There are also 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 forever. That is your choice.
In the end, your health is priority number one.
3. Stop, breathe and contemplate.
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 you? 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.
Maria Mooney, MSW, LSW, is a licensed social worker, high raw vegan blogger and writer, college level sociology instructor, animal advocate and employee at KrisCarr.com who was diagnosed with and is healing from a progressive neurological disease, RSD/CRPS. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, the sports of long-distance running and basketball, spending time in nature and being with her loved ones, especially her Goldendoodle, Shorter. Her long-term goals are to acquire a PhD. in medical sociology and teach and do research at a research-based university. You can find her at her blog, on Twitter @HappyHealing44 and on Facebook.
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Assistant Ed: Stephanie Vessely / Ed: Lynn Hasselberger