Today, I’d like to share some of my secrets for giving solid, good advice, even in difficult situations. We quiet people tend to be good listeners and think (sometimes a great deal) before we speak, so we are often consulted. Beging asked for advice is a sign of trust and confidence, but it can also be uncomfortable and a great responsibility. Here’s what to say, how to cope, and how not to get blamed if things work out in unexpected ways.
It’s that time of the year again… Biscuits and tea become the very thing, familiar carols drift through the air, and there’s a vague scent of cinnamon and oranges everywhere. Mmmmh. And we’re too stressed out to enjoy it all because we’re Christmas shopping like crazy, of course. I’d like to offer some suggestions for making that particular hell a little easier, quicker and more comfortable to navigate: Behold, the introvert gift guide. What to give to whom, and how to acquire it with a minimum of fuss.
You don’t have to be terribly empathetic to get upset by watching the news. If you are very empathetic, though, the news become a real trial. We get upset by all the awful things that are happening in the world, depressed about the lack of compassion, overwhelmed by the feelings of despair which the people in those stories must have experienced – because we share them. I have struggled with this for a long time and still sometimes do. But there are some strategies that help a lot, which I’m going to share today.
It’s tempting to just stop watching the news altogether. After all, there’s nothing we can do – we just get really bummed out everytime. However, it’s also a fact that a democracy cannot work with uninformed citizens. And people look at you strangely when they mention a story that has been all over the news lately and you go “Uh, what was that?”. And finally, maybe there is something you can do, sometimes – like with the current wave of refugees all over Europe, which can only begin to be handled because plenty of normal people volunteer to help -, but you have to know about that first. So I’d like to make a case here for keeping up with the news, even when it’s hard… who am I kidding – even when it’s terrifying. Here’s what helps me cope with staying informed.
I was going to write an upbeat post today about the value of kindness. Well, another time. You see, I’m having a bit if a bad day. Today, my partner woke up with a cold, and when he has a cold, he watches crime shows, and I made the mistake of watching an episode with him. (Why??) Predictably, it made me feel awful. Lonely and sad and aching for all the pain and loss and cruelty in the world. So I didn’t feel like a chirpy post about kindness.
Instead, I thought I’d share a list of the things that help me feel a little better on bad days – days when I’m depressed, anxious, sad, or otherwise in emotional pain. I’ll keep updating thist list as I find new things. If you’ve got suggestions, leave a comment and I’ll add it.
As I explained last week, “Get out of your comfort zone!” is my pet peeve and the piece of thoughtless, bad advice that I dislike the most (read why here). But there are a few more pieces of advice and conventional wisdom that I’d like to talk about, because they are regularly and liberally thrown about, but can be terribly harmful. They tend to be especially bad advice for introverts, high sensitives or anxious people, but really, some of these “gems” are shitty advice no matter who you’re talking to, and they’re worth thinking about for everyone – the advisors and the advised.
Do you sometimes feel like motivational posters are mobbing you? Like all the brightly optimistic people must be on drugs (and like you really want to know where you can get those)? Or like you’re going to punch the next person who chirpily suggests that you should “get out of your comfort zone”? Then this post is for you. Actually, it’s also for you if you’re one of the brightly optimistic and chirpy people – I’m not going to punch you, I promise. I’ll just try to explain why I sometimes look so sour when you try to motivate me, and why some pieces of “positive thinking” are terrible advice for introverts and anxious people.
I have been debating whether or not I should tell you, but… I have a super power. Not a secret identity, though – my super self is my everyday self. Which is just how it should be!
You may be snickering or rolling your eyes now. Empathy? What a lame super power! Well, if you’ve got a minute, I’d like to explain why I do think it’s indeed an incredibly valuable skill, one that, in theory, 99.9% of all humans possess, but that is not really valued enough in our culture, relegated to the realm of ‘feminine’, ‘bad for business’ and optional’. As a consequence, many people do not realise the full potential of what being empathetic really means, and how tremendously useful it can be.