I’m seeing a troubling trend on social media these days. Comments like:
Don’t burden other people with your problems.
You’re bringing other people down.
When you complain, you’re just being negative.
No one wants to hear about all your problems.
The people who espouse this philosophy think they are being helpful. After all, if you think positive, you will have positive outcomes. Right?
But there is huge danger present in this philosophy.
When people are suffering or going through a hard time, society teaches them not to burden others with their problems. Keep it to yourself. Work it out on your own.
However, this can lead to depression, isolation, and loneliness.
And it can even lead to suicide.
We’ve all seen the comments on social media after someone commits suicide:
“I had no idea he was suffering so badly.”
“I had no idea she was struggling.”
“She seemed fine whenever I saw her.”
“It looked like he had everything going for him, why would he do this?”
“Why didn’t he reach out to someone for help?”
We are teaching people to keep their struggles to themselves, that no one really wants to hear about their problems.
People who are suicidal don’t want to be an emotional or physical burden on their families and friends, so they don’t talk about how close they are to the edge. They often suffer in silence.
Right now, people you know are struggling and you don’t even know it.
Right now someone you know and love is contemplating suicide.
Are you an open ear for them? Are you a shoulder for them to cry on? Are you aware of their struggles?
Don’t ignore people when they complain. They are signaling to you that they are struggling, that they are lost, that they are afraid of their future. They are saying, “I need help and I don’t know what to do.”
Pay attention to their whining as it’s likely just the tip of the iceberg. Some people are one bad moment away from ending their lives. You can bring them back by listening, empathizing, helping them find real answers to their struggles. Maybe even helping them get to a therapist.
Don’t turn a blind eye or become annoyed when people complain about their lives. It’s a cry for help. Listen.
Check in on those you love. Invite them to share their struggles so they know someone cares and that they are not alone. It can save their lives.