If someone you supposedly care about comes to you complaining about this, that, and the other, and you reply with what amounts to:
- Other people have it worse.
- Nobody’s entitled to XYZ.
- You’re not the only one.
- Things could be worse.
- Have you tried not being XYZ?
- Don’t be sad, be happy instead!
- Well that’s just life.
- Get over it.
- You just gotta do it!
- Just be yourself.
Know that you have not helped. You have not made them feel better. In fact, you have made them feel worse:
- “It could be worse.” — OF COURSE it could be worse! EVERYTHING could be worse! Like, have a LITTLE compassion would ya?! Jeez.
- “You’re not the only one.” “Other people have it worse.” Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me that my problems don’t matter. I should just suck it up buttercup, right? Why did I bother opening myself up to you, again? That latter line is especially irksome: if there’s a guy who killed five, and another who killed ten, because of the existence of the ten-killer then the five-killer ought be pardoned? Because that’s your logic!
- “Don’t be sad, be happy instead!” Such statements are complete idiocy and utter lunacy: no one consciously chooses their emotional state. Emotions are a happening. They happen to you. They are as involuntary and spontaneous as the pain from stubbing your toe or being stung by a wasp. If they didn’t, this would hold horrific implications surrounding such evils as racism and murder, not to mention the entire point of psychology and Buddhism. (Not that they’re much different.)
- “Just be yourself.” The only people who are helped by “being themselves” are naturally awesome, alpha, Correct, and so forth. The rest of us, especially us bottom-rung omegas, have to lie-lie-lie, hide-hide-hide to get anywhere in life. (Especially in finance and in romance.) All you’re doing is reminding them that they are losers: if being themselves really helped, would they be losers in the first place?
If you say such things, know that all you have done is make sure they won’t come to you to anymore to get things off their chest because they expect you’ll condescend at them with unhelpful non-advice that’s only good for forcing them to swallow down the sudden craving to beat you with a hammer.