Friday, December 6, 2013

I AM *bleeping* Hanging In There!

If you would like to see me punch you with my eyes, tell me to hang in there.

Of all the button pushing phrases I can think of (and there are many), this one for me is the worst.
I have an actual physical reaction to this phrase. My body recoils like I've just been shoved, hard.

Maybe my reaction is a little much? A little sensitive are we?
I mean what's wrong with this little phrase? It's always said with good intention right?
Yeah, I know. But I still hate it.

I've spent some time examining my extreme hatred of this phrase and here's what I've come up with:
Maybe it is because I am immature.
Maybe it is because I am insecure.
Maybe it is because I am an oldest child and I don't like to be told what to do.
(I have problems, pray for me!)

But probably I hate this phrase most of all because... I AM *bleeping* HANGING IN THERE!!!!!!

What else am I possibly doing other than hanging in there?
I haven't offed myself.
I haven't abandoned my family and hopped a plane to Fiji.
I am right here, very much hanging in there.
In fact, I am as 100% hanging in there as humanly possible.

What have I done or said to indicate I may no longer continue to hang in there? Why the need for this type of feedback? The implication of "hang in there" is that I am considering possibly no longer hanging in there - and that is insulting.

I think it comes down to this:
Sometimes life feels hard. And I know in general we prefer to hear just the good stuff from each other. We prefer an optimistic, sunny response when we ask each other "how are you?"
Make it easy on me and say you are fine.
But sometimes life is legitimately hard and sometimes it goes on for a while, and IF an honest answer to this question of "how are you?" is given, or IF an attempt to be vulnerable by sharing the hard stuff is made, please do not do the verbal equivalent of palm to the face by telling that person to "hang in there." It instantly shuts the conversation down.

Instead:

If don't want to hear anything difficult, then just don't ask.

OR

If you really do want to know the truth but find yourself not sure how to respond when you hear about hard things, just say that: "My friend, wow, I don't even know what to say."
Or say, "Thank you for sharing the hard stuff."
Or say, "That sounds really hard."
Or say, "I'm really sorry, that sounds hard."
Or say,  "Please say more, I want to know more about what this is like for you."

These are the responses that encourage, these are the responses that form bonds, these are the responses that keep the conversation going, these are the responses that sustain us.

Life is really hard sometimes, way to hang in there!!!






15 comments:

  1. keep the great work mother! she is totally worth every second... we all enjoy every new triumph and all your submissions!

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  2. Yup, I totally can relate! I love your alternatives! I would love for someone to say "tell me more".

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    1. Right Stephanie? Maybe we can start a movement - the Tell Me More movement. :) Thanks for reading!

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  3. Laurie, I adore you for many reasons and one of them is your candid honesty. I appreciate your views and you always are able to hit the nail right on the head with your candor. I am here for you anytime you need a friend. I pray for you every day. I especially appreciate that you are willing to share how a vague phrase could be hurtful. You are so real and the strongest mom I know. You make our world a better place because of your strengths, honesty And your love. Please know that words alone cannot express how much I look up to you. Take care my dear and please, reach out if there is anything I can do to help you. Xoxo

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    1. Thank you Wendy for all your kind words and encouragement!

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  4. Oh and I am saying, I am sorry for for your struggles and ANYTIME you may tell me mire! Hugs to you.

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  5. YES!!! I am bleeping hanging in there! I would much rather some one say that they don't know how to respond than, hang in there. Makes me want to reply, I've been hanging because there is no one to catch me

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    1. Right? I hear ya!!! It feels like an insult - what the heck do you think I've been doing this whole time???

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  7. You are absolutely right. I loved this post...thank you for sharing!

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  8. I HATE being asked "How are you?". It's clear people want the answer, "Good" and frankly, that's rarely the case in my world. I'm chronically ill and permanently disabled. So my new answer? "I'm alive." It takes people aback, then they chuckle, and stop asking.

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  9. Yes, that is a phrase that sends me over the edge. Sometimes people say the worst things when they don't know what to say.

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