Just because you can’t understand the discomfort of the other doesn’t mean that “it’s not so much.”
Anxiety is usually one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses of all. Although it is also one of the most common, it tends to be confused and ignored.
Having anxiety or not, is not something you choose. No one wants that feeling of imminent danger or tingling in the body or the one that makes it seem that the heart is going to explode from how fast it is.
We have all felt nervous about something that we do not know or that challenges us but believe me when I tell you that it is not the same for a person with anxiety.
Those who are close to someone who suffers from anxiety often think that their crises are “a passing lapse” and that all they need is to “calm down”. Yes, it is important to regain calm but a “calm down” does not improve the situation.
It also doesn’t help to be told that “You must change the chip” or “see the positive side” and much less hear that what is happening to you “is not so much”.
Invalidating the emotions of the other is dangerous
When we say that this discomfort “is not so much”, we invalidate what that situation represents for that person.
If someone with anxiety were able to calm down with an order or to see the positive side with a motivational message, they would do so without hesitation.
Invalidation is the process of denying, rejecting or dismissing someone’s feelings. Telling another person who is suffering that what is happening to them is “not that bad” or that they are “exaggerating” sends the message that that emotional experience is inaccurate, insignificant, or unacceptable.
It is one of the most harmful forms of emotional abuse and can trigger more negative effects on that person such as doubting themselves, closing themselves to re-expressing their emotions, feeling that they are crazy or that they are a burden.
Sometimes this is done without bad intentions but in the end, it comes from this lack of empathy and understanding because we believe that we should always show ourselves strong or that vulnerability equals weakness.
Although it is important to show support, “nice words” are not the best option. Validating someone’s emotional experience doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with that person or that you think they’re right. Sometimes, all it takes is to be willing to listen and accompany. Although of course, a professional intervention also helps to prevent that discomfort from getting out of control.
Truly listening to someone means trying to understand their position.
Never underestimate the pain of others
Many people are uncomfortable with feelings, especially negative ones. It’s complicated, but just because you can’t deal with someone who cries or is afraid of something you don’t understand doesn’t mean you should minimize their emotions.
Those who suffer are tired of hearing about “looking on the good side.” It just doesn’t work like that.
Nor should we blame ourselves, after all, sometimes what we see is only what happens on the outside and we can not always investigate further. But it is fair because we do not know the internal battles that each one carries that we should not judge or criticize.
But since no one possesses the ability to see what is happening inside another person, we cannot underestimate their pain or believe that they will respond as one would. There are hearts that are more fragile than others and minds more susceptible than others. It is not weakness, it is only our mortal condition that makes us act and react in different ways to pain.