There is a Facebook page that I follow for its kindness and optimism. I am not alone. More than 5 million people have liked this page.
There is never any criticism in its posts. There is just support, understanding, and acceptance.
Recently, they posted this:
More than 9,000 people responded.
I read the first thirty answers. And then I stopped.
Of those thirty, only three were positive.
“Tell the people you love that you love them.”
“Be nice to yourself.”
“You are stronger than you think.”
Twenty-seven comments – 90% – were negative. Sad, pessimistic, bitter.
“Never trust anyone.”
“Don’t expect people to come through for you.”
“People will not treat you with the kindness you show them.”
“Always expect the worst.”
“Just because they are family doesn’t mean they won’t abandon you.
“Your friends will talk behind your back.”
So I stopped after thirty.
I don’t think these percentages would hold if read all 9,000. I think those who are unhappy or angry were just more likely to respond right away. It’s sort of like negative reviews. If you love something, you might be inclined to post a review. But if you hate something, you can’t wait to complain. Anger is a great impetus.
But reflecting on those I did read breaks my heart a little.
This Facebook page is meant to be uplifting. Its purpose is to make you feel better. I go there to calm my soul. I believe that is why all five million followers go there.
These people who wrote such unhappy life lessons went to that site to be uplifted. But they could not themselves be uplifting. I believe that what they wanted was for someone or something outside themselves to help them feel better.
Maybe writing those dark thoughts was a release in itself, and did help soothe them. Maybe they were just hoping for someone to say, “I understand.”
Certainly, this has been a difficult year. Even happy people are dealing with depression. If one’s life is already a struggle, I can only imagine how hopeless it might seem.
I want to be the person who gives them those uplifting words to help them through their dark times. I want to ease their pain. But that’s just my ego. How can I help?
Can I loan them my dogs for a day? Or my lovely amazing mother? Can I give them a nicer past?
I can’t say “things will get better” – that’s just a platitude in the face of hurt and sorrow. And besides, I don’t know that things will get better. Not for them. Not for anyone.
All I can say is,
I’m trying to understand.