Clearly, we live in a time when many of our fellow citizens seem to harbor a great deal of anger. It appears that the source of this anger is complex and multi-layered. While we all have a right to act on our feelings, many of us fail to discriminate and thus often direct anger on targets totally undeserving of such a reaction. It is always shocking to me to read some of the comments submitted when articles are posted. For the life of me, I cannot begin to fathom the reason that the anger is expressed using emotionally charred negative words directed at those who are simply trying to reach out, open their lives to others in an effort to attempt to provide support to those living also with chronic pain. This is a simple act of kindness in an attempt to address the issue of social isolation so many chronically ill experience, Every time I and others have an article posted, we have to brace ourselves for being attacked and judged in often the most demeaning of ways.
We need, as a society, to remember kindness, remember we are not perfect and that we are all on our distinct journeys in life, trying to make the best of the gifts and/or trials we have been given. But to read something someone has written to try to help you from the kindness of their heart – why are you tearing them down? I understand the frustration, hurt, anger, the feeling of being lost, feeling abandoned, etc. Those are hurtful and difficult to deal with. But does that justify tearing down others around you just trying to offer support and offering suggestions to try to help you? These people that post on this site take the time to reach out to you and are not being compensated for their time and efforts.
What do you gain by being so negative towards others? Do you feel empowered by hurting others? Do you feel physically and emotionally better to attack others due to your issues you are coping with? And if the answer is NO, then what is your motivation to use such hurtful words towards others.
If you read carefully the articles printed, no one is attempting to say their issues are more important than yours. No one is claiming to have all the answers for you to follow. No one is seeing pain as a competition. Instead, these articles are filled with the raw emotion of those attempting to cope and hoping to help you see you are not alone. The articles sometimes offer suggestions that have helped that might help you. And the people writing to try to help you are also trying to figure out how to accept, fight, become empowered and live a life that has as for so many of us, turned more challenging and often emotionally overwhelming to a degree none of us anticipated or planned for.
So let’s see if you can consider what your words mean to one that is just trying to help you. Do you really want to turn them away from trying to help you and others? For if you do, you will slowly see some writers finding that the task of sharing in writing with the hope of perhaps providing even a shred of meaningful advice based upon one’s individual experience may simply not be worth the emotional drain caused by the often hostile negative reaction they may be exposed to.
So, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed? Why not try writing out what is on your mind and get the out onto paper and then set it aside. Return the next day and see how you feel about what you wrote down and decide if that made you feel better or if you feel you still need to share the negative with the writer. You may find it very liberating to write out your emotions and then taking a break to see if that is truly something that remains private or something that is better off shared.
Let’s try a bit more kindness towards each other in 2020!
May life be kind to you,
Ellen Lenox Smith
Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.