When did we become so insecure that protecting our ego is more important than being a good friend?
I don’t blame people when they assume I’m exaggerating my struggles with chronic pain because I look so good. I work or go to school, play hockey, and hike. I know it’s hard to believe.
When (mostly when asked) I tell them that I’m in pain, they immediately minimize, “oh I did that hike last year, and I couldn’t move after either,” “it’s called ageing, T,” “that’s called being a student.” Or, worst of all, launch into giving me solutions: “I know this naturopath you need to see…” “you just have to eat more protein,” “make a list of goals and focus on it,” “Think positive.”
I know it’s possibly because it’s too scary for them to admit that what I’m telling them is true – either to admit they don’t know everything or to admit, if it could affect someone as healthy as me, it could affect them. Or their desire to impress with their helpfulness blind them from seeing what help is sought. (Or they have decided I’m lying, but that’s a whole another topic)
I no longer try to change their minds. It’s hard to decide to allocate my limited time and energy into changing their minds. I realized there is nothing for me to gain. Even if I change their mind on this one piece of fact, the underlying reason they rejected it before still exists, and it will continue making them choose their ego over being a good friend in other ways.
My message here is this. We all have to pick one of two mutually-exclusive paths. One, to succumb to our ego, insecurity, perfectionism, or fear and start speaking. Two, to be a good friend and listen with the intent to understand.
If you’re done telling me things you want to tell me and ready to listen, here is a clip. The first 5 minutes of this clip describes exactly what happened to me (minus the fever). And at minute 12, you see what I struggle with every day.
I said earlier I am not investing in changing people’s minds any more. So why did I post this clip? To help with the denial. Those of you who found yoursevles using this clip to pick up what you can tell people like me next time we talk, you are one of them. And I want you to know it’s OK. I just wanted to give you an opportunity to become aware.