I talked to a friend the other day; she has been through hell and back with her daughter’s illness. Her daughter is better now, but the fear of losing her is still deep within her body.
I have talked to many mothers of children who are sick or fragile over the years. The words are the same; they are tired, scared for their children, and worn down. Fathers worry too, but I have not talked as much with them.
This Covid pandemic has been very hard on us all, but these women have been exposed to a double fear and even ridicule. I will tell you why.
One of the phrases used within the more alternative circles, most people who call themselves spiritual, is “you have to choose not to live in fear, it can hurt you.”
I think that is a very abusive way to speak to people. It tells you that fear is a choice, that it is irrational, and that you are obviously hurting yourself on purpose. It means that you are wrong, that you live in the wrong way.
I don’t think people who say these words are aware of just how harmful they are and how they hurt.
Talk in Hospital
Some years ago, a woman I met at the hospital when I was there with my daughter. She was so tired and a friend has told her to put on some makeup “to look more fresh and happy.” She looked at me with shame in her eyes and said she could not even breathe because all she wanted was her small daughter to survive. All she did was pray that God did not take her precious child away, and makeup and looking happy was not in any way anything she could do, not even faking it. I told her not to be ashamed but proud that she was still standing even if barely standing.
We talked about how hard it was to have a sick child and be sick with worry and tired because you are afraid to go to bed and finding you slept when your child needed you.
When you are met with words on having to chose not to be scared, thee is the same impact in the words as with the ones about makeup. It is words spoken from someone who has no idea just how hard it is to keep sick children safe in the middle of a pandemic. People who don’t understand just how devastating it is to lose friends to Covid and be told not to be afraid. I have friends who are sick, going on six months now with symptoms long after the illness itself has left them and they are scared, as am I.
Be nice and try to understand
I got distraught yesterday because someone told me that we should choose not to live in fear. I got mad that I was spoken to like I was a child getting scolded.
I am sure people would love to live without fear in their lives. I am sure mothers of sick children would love to worry less and be free and smile. I am very confident this is not a choice.
So next time you feel like telling people to change their lives with something as fundamental as fear, talk with compassion, understanding, and ask them why they are fearful. Do not just throw some phrases in the air that you have learned from someone else. You might end up hurting them and bring shame to their life.
Show compassion, not judgment. These people are in crisis and do not choose to live in fear.