Why Saying 'It's Gonna Be Okay' Is Not Always The Best Reply To Give
If you’ve ever felt anxious or down at any point in life—and we’re sure you have because it’s a real feeling any human can experience—you know how much the feeling sucks. An overwhelming sense of anxiety can feel heavy and erratic. It may feel like you’re constantly in a loop of cluelessness, hopelessness, or doubtfulness and you can’t break free. Bottom line is, it’s not pleasant.
When a friend confides in us about their worries and anxieties in life, our automatic response is usually “It’s going to be okay.” And while it comes from a place of concern and our desire to reassure the other person, the thing is, it might not be as helpful as we think it is.
It gives false hope, which isn’t helpful to the situation.
Is it really going to be okay? Sure, maybe. While we’re here for the optimism and positivity, it’s not always the right thing to say to everyone. Some people take it as reassurance. But others may just see it as false hope. Imagine being told that things will be okay, only for them to get worse… that’s honestly the biggest betrayal in history. Exag, but you get the point.
It can also come off as being dismissive of what the person is feeling. They’re opening up about their worries and negative emotions, and hearing “it’s gonna be okay” from a friend might sound like a generic, disconnected response. It’s like they never heard a word you said and were only waiting for the cue to say what they think you wanted to hear.
It comes off as toxic positivity.
According to Psychology Today, toxic positivity is when you believe that the only way to go through life is to stay positive. No one likes it when someone is always nega, but it’s also not good to be too positive all the time that we start to overlook or give no regard to the negative things in life. Sometimes, allowing ourselves to recognize and accept these negative emotions could be beneficial to the situation. Instead of drowning them in positive vibes only, Konstantin Lukin Ph.D. suggests in his article on Psychology today, that letting our friends relish and recognize these unwanted emotions might help them regulate and process their feelings accordingly.
Here are other things you shouldn’t be saying to someone with anxiety:
Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C enumerates other statements to watch out for when trying to reassure someone. It’s best if you don’t say:
- “Calm down.”
- “It’s not a big deal.”
- “I know how you feel.”
If you’re looking for alternative things to say that can actually help a friend out, psychology professor Martin Antony, Ph.D mentions these things in an interview with self.com:
- “What can I do to help?”
- “I’m always here for you.”
- “Do you want to hear advice or would you just like someone else to listen to you?”
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Outdoors Danielle Flestado @artdkf | May 1, 2020 "I miss the outside world. The last time I went outside of our house was on my birthday. We just bought coffee across our village and went back home immediately. This painting made me feel that I'm in a field, just appreciating the beauty of God's creation. Can you imagine the green grass and pink flowers?"
When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.
You'll make a home out of the darkness that when a ray of light suddenly hits you, you'll try to avoid it. You'll try to cover your eyes. You'll try to cover your ears from the voices trying to help you get out of it. You'll try to hide because your mind and body will go against your will to come out and live. Because the darkness that used to scare you, now comforts you in a way you thought has helped you survived life. And you'll try to live. Day by day. In the darkness. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to start. Not knowing who is with you. You will try to live until the darkness that once surrounds you is now within you. And everyday, it's gonna be a cycle of subtle torture. But let me tell you a secret. The darkness won't make you whole.
You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?
I always thought of life, like a bead where each piece makes it worth sewing together with other piece of beads to make a stronger bond and to create a beautiful result. Today, how do we bond well with different people especially this difficult time? As this day challenges us to a new normal, may we continue to bead along positively with our life.