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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Problem with "It will be ok" as a Piece of Advice

You hear it all the time, "Oh it will be ok" or "Don't worry it will all work out."  Little pleasantries people offer you in times of personal stress or despair.  But I've always seen a problem with these comments as forms of advice, and find myself feeling annoyed, even agitated, when people offer them to me in response to my current predicament.

First of all, can you tell the future?  You say, it will be ok, but can you, without a doubt, no question in your mind promise me that it will in fact be ok?  No, you can't and there's no way you ever could.  Yes it's true, time heals wounds and overtime our pain will recede or pass altogether, but unless you have some secret eye into the future, then don't offer me a sweeping statement like it will all work out, when it may not work out at all, or this problem will work out only for a new one to take its place.

Secondly, I think of myself as someone who has a pretty good perspective.  I know that a flat tire isn't the end of the world and I know people would gladly trade my stress over finals week for their daily struggles.  But for some reason or other, my current situation is causing me enough discomfort that I've chosen to confide in you about it.  For whatever reason you're the person I've chosen to vent to and that means I trust you (an honor that shouldn't be taken lightly) and if at the end of my vent session you tell me not to worry or that things could be worse, I will certainly regret informing you of anything at all.  You telling me not to worry certainly does not equate to a magic wand being waved and my worries disappearing.  Trust me, before I came to you, I tried to convince myself hundreds of times not to worry, I tried to tell myself hundreds of times that other people have it worse, but when I was still worried or distressed that's when I came to you for advice, not for an echo of what I told myself last week.



Lastly, my biggest problem with this statement as a form of advice is that it negates the present moment in time.  You're telling me to basically just wait and see.  Wait and see what happens, to focus less on the now and put all my hope into the future.  Well I don't want to live that way.  I don't want to live waiting for Friday, for the summer, for a new job or vacation.  I want to live every day in the present, as cheesy as that sounds.  And when you tell me that everything will work out you're telling me to get through this next patch and maybe one day I'll wake up happier and it will be time for me to fully live my life again.  Just because I'm complaining about something, or I'm upset about something I'm going through doesn't mean I'm going to avoid going through it at or hide from it until it goes away.  More likely it means I've found myself in a situation I'm uncomfortable with, have tried everything I could think of on my own to solve it, and after that didn't work , I have come to you, a trusted friend, to get your perspective.

I have always been ok.  I know I always will be ok.  I don't need you to tell me that it's going to be fine, What I do need is for you to listen to my problem, really think about it, and just talk about it with me.  We don't even have to come to any type of solution, sometimes a conversation is soothing enough in itself.  And know that you can always come to me with your problems and expect to get the same treatment.  I promise I will try my best to never again tell you it will all be ok, if you do me the same courtesy.

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