Words are powerful. What you say and how you say it can either lift them up or crush their soul. You never know what people are struggling with, which is why it’s important to exercise kindness and sensitivity always – but especially when people are going through something. Here are some things you might want to rethink before saying them to someone going through a tough time.
“May ibang tao na mas mabigat ang pinagdadaanan kaysa sa’yo.”
Yes, some people are dealing with graver circumstances, but that doesn’t invalidate another person’s feelings. PSA: life isn’t a contest of who had it the worst. Everybody’s allowed to feel how they feel, and we should be respectful of that.
“Magdasal ka lang.”
There’s nothing wrong with being religious or spiritual, but not everyone has the same beliefs. And even if you do believe in a higher being, prayers alone can’t solve everything. Some people need more than prayers to weather the roughest days — for instance, they could need supportive loved ones, medical assistance, and a safe space to open up. You can always seek spiritual guidance and professional help at the same time.
“Maayos naman ang buhay mo, mayaman ka.”
Nobody is exempt from adversity. Even celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga have opened up about their mental health struggles. The point is, you can have everything you’ve dreamed of and still feel unaccomplished and lonely.
“Be positive lang.”
We hate to break this on you, but positivity isn’t something you can force on anyone. There’s a thing called toxic positivity, which is a mindset that ignores any ounce of negativity. But remember, it’s normal to feel sad or devastated when bad things happen. Acknowledge your unpleasant emotions or situations because it helps you heal and move on.
“Mukhang wala ka namang pinagdadaanan.”
So, being sad has a specific look now? Do people need to wear flannel shirts and sport messy hair to be called unhappy? Some people prefer to hide their emotions for fear of being judged or made fun of. Some people are just hard to read.
It’s impossible to tell what someone’s going through with just a glance or a short conversation. Instead of making assumptions, ask them politely and listen.
“‘Wag mo na lang isipin.”
While it’s true that even the most difficult challenges shall pass, telling someone to brush away their emotions is a no-no. For starters, it seems you’re dismissing their feelings. They’re sharing their problem with you because it bothers them, and the best thing you can do is not to be condescending. And for another thing, ignoring problems is an unhealthy coping mechanism – how can you properly process your emotions if you keep brushing them under the rug?
“Ang dramatic mo naman masyado.”
Wow, what a way to make someone feel better, right? People who say these kinds of words are part of the reason why some are afraid to open up about what they’re going through. Instead of throwing insensitive statements around, how about listening, for a change?
Have you tried [insert any activity here]?
This question gives a person the impression they aren’t trying enough to address their current situation. In reality, they might’ve done the things you’re suggesting, but it doesn’t work for them. Instead, ask the person how you can help to make them feel better.
If you’re going through a mental health crisis, don’t be afraid to get help. Contact the Department of Health (DOH)’s mental health crisis hotline here.