We have all had struggles in our lives. Some are large, some are small, some are in-between. Some are life-changing, while others are just a pain in the neck. Lately I have encountered a couple of rather major struggles. Without going into detail, they have taken an emotional and financial toll on me.
My natural instinct in times of trouble is to take care of it myself. It's what I'm used to, and I'm a bit hard-headed. I don't like to ask for help or admit that I need help. So when I finally swallow my (oh-so-hard-to-digest) pride and ask, I'm pretty vulnerable and desperate.
The situation I am in now is resolvable, but there are a lot of factors, and a few different possible outcomes. I need help. When I finally did express my needs to a couple of family members/close friends, do you know what their advice/help was? "Try not to worry about it."
WOW! Am I GLAD I asked YOU! I never ever would have thought to just STOP worrying about it!
There are a few people in my life who FRUSTRATE me. They think ignoring a problem makes it go away. If we don't think about it or talk about it, it doesn't exist. Just stop worrying about it. I'm not sure about you, but I don't seem to have conscious control of my worries.
Probably some of the best advice I've ever received was from a close friend of mine a few months back. She said to me, "Andrea, you can't keep ignoring this. You have to do something. This isn't going away." SLAP! Not what I WANTED to hear, but what I NEEDED to hear. She also went on to help me figure out what the solution should be and how I would handle whatever outcome was dealt. It was much easier to deal with once I had a plan and felt in control.
Why do we advise others to try not to worry? Is it because we don't want them to worry US with it? Maybe. Is it because we don't have the answer? Possibly. Is it because we don't care? Could be.
With my situation, I didn't need organs donated or large sums of money. I called on a family member who has some connections that could make things easier (and cheaper) on me. I called on someone when I needed a shoulder to cry on and dump all my anxiety to. Neither of those came through for me.
Basically what I am getting at is that we have all needed help at one time or another. So next time a friend comes to you and confides or explains a problem they are having, think about what you would need in that situation. If you can't give them what they need, I bet you could listen sympathetically, support them, and understand their worry and frustration.
Just whatever you do, PLEASE don't tell them not to worry. I'd say they already tried that one.