How Well-Intended Encouragement Can Frustrate Me
Do you ever get frustrated following well-intended encouragement from others? I likely sound very ungrateful, and I don’t mean to be, so let me explain.
I am very lucky to have some friends in my life who are always encouraging me through the tough stuff since being diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in 2016. This “tough stuff” includes, but not limited to: long hospital admissions, painful procedures or exhausting rehabilitation programs. While I appreciate their encouragement, sometimes I find myself frustrated at what-seems-to-be a lack of acknowledgement about how hard these things are for me sometimes. I know the purpose of all of these difficult things is to help me get and stay well, and that the painful procedures are simply for doctors and nurses to know how to treat me most effectively. Therefore, I agree with how important these things are.
What sometimes irritates me is when I am upset, tired or complaining about how difficult some of these things are; the response from friends sometimes feels insensitive. As an example, I recently needed an arterial blood gas (ABG) done and for those of you who’ve had one of these, you likely know how uncomfortable they are. I was caught up in my own self-pity party (which I hate to admit happens sometimes, but it does) and my friend asked if the ABG test was done. I said yes, and mentioned how painful it was. His response with a smile was “excellent, I am glad it’s done”. I wanted to rip his hair out! While I was also glad it’s done, and he was merely trying to encourage me to get through it; I was actually looking for a bit more compassion about how painful it was. This has also happened in similar scenarios after I’ve endured difficult procedures in my fight against IPF.
Have you ever had this happen? Where people are encouraging you through something tough but maybe fail to acknowledge how difficult that procedure, admission, surgery, rehab, etc. was for you?
Maybe it’s just me! I’m curious to hear from you.
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