Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
We have all met Jack. He is generally uneducated, does not care to read, his television favorites are mindless, and yet he knows the answer to nearly every problem other people have. He tends to be bold, thoughtless, crass, or even obnoxious. We don’t enjoy his company.
Then there is Mack. He has earned several degrees from reputable schools. Mention a person’s problem to him, and he mentally shakes his head at all the ignorance in the world. His dismissive wave of the hand is only figurative because he trusts that outward decorum speaks well of his intelligence. We sometimes enjoy being seen in his company.
We are familiar too with Zack. He is quiet and seemingly empty of conflict or points of view. He will not follow-up or show active concern when faced with problems of those about him. He seems nice enough, and we spend time with him because it would be rude to not.
Of these three, to whom would we be likely to turn in times of emotional distress? Why or why not?
Jack, Mack, and Zack will not change the world for the better. Being an influence for good means caring about a problem, asking good questions, and making personal sacrifice.
When we are in emotional distress, the least helpful support is someone spouting know-it-all claims to fix the situation. Apathy and silence can be even more cutting.
To be supportive of friends or family members who are struggling with their emotions, this is an old saying worth remembering: No one cares how much you know until he or she knows how much you care.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
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