DR. CELESTE CATANIA-OPRIS, PH.D., LMFT
We all have this idea of life. Particularly, what it is, what it should be, and what is considered “normal.” Some people tend to have a difficult time accepting others who don’t follow these “norms” we have created for one’s lifetime. For instance, many people are told to go to school, get a job, get married, and to have kids one day. When people stray from this order, others tend to come in and try to “help,” not necessarily realizing the impact of their words.
Typical opinions/advice are in regards to one’s child-rearing, relationships, occupation, spending habits, lifestyle, and so forth. Here are some questions to consider.
What if she actually lost 80 pounds and that outfit makes her feel beautiful; something she has not felt in quite some time? What if he is not slacking off, but he is just too ashamed to admit he needs help in school? What if she has been trying and she can’t get pregnant? What if they really never wanted children? What if they lost their house because their medical bills were too high after she got sick, not because they weren’t working hard enough?
It is difficult to adjust to a life you always envisioned going differently. For example, some people thought they would have children or a family of their own by a certain age. Comments as to what a person does not have or should have done differently in their lives can feel judgmental and hurtful at times, even if you are coming from a ”good place.”
It is also difficult to effectively adapt to a new life, after living a life you felt so comfortable with at one point. For instance, the loss of a loved one can leave a person feeling lost, lonely, or different than the person they once were. Life can be completely altered after losing a job, battling a sickness, and so forth. As it is said, “Time heals all wounds,” but we have no idea at which point a person is in that process, so remember to be mindful of your responses.
Assumptions can be hurtful. Words can be hurtful. However, your words can also cause change, positively impact another person’s life, and can help heal wounds on someone’s heart. This holiday season, be mindful to spread love. Do your part in making kindness contagious.
Countless people around us are feeling discouraged, unwanted, or helpless. Offer a helping hand, compliment another individual, and remind yourselves that a person’s “weakness” may actually be their greatest strength. Help them notice how incredible they are, just in case they may have forgotten. Lastly, remember to offer the same consideration and kindness to yourself. We tend to be our own worst critics, but there are others around you who think you are absolutely perfect.
Wishing you all a happy and unforgettable holiday season!
Celeste Catania-Opris, Ph.D., LMFT, offers therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. Visit www.TherapyForModernHousewives.com.