Toxic gratitude; using gratitude thinking as a weapon to make others feel like their feelings aren’t valid.
Inflicting the “you should be grateful because…” on someone going through a tough time isn’t helpful.
Stop. Just stop it. When someone is down – please stop comparing their pain. Pain is pain.
Stop with the “I’d just be pleased to <insert comparison>” thing please.
Someone doesn’t get a job they’ve worked hard for. Please don’t say “I’d be pleased to just get an interview”. Someone sharing their disappointment and it is not about you.
Or the classic put down by comparison “there are people worse off”.
Particularly when someone is depressed or struggling with any symptom of mental illness – don’t do this comparison relativity thing.
It’s like saying to someone with a broken arm “I’d just be pleased with a broken finger and some time off work”.
Feeling crap about things and struggling to see the upside is part and parcel of depression.
It’s like saying to people who’ve lost a home in the fires “oh well, at least it’s insured”. Insurance can not replace memories or mend broken hearts after an event such as losing a home to fire. So, yeah, stop! Think.
Let people have their feelings. It’s not up to you to dictate how they should feel.
People don’t need a reality check – if they are feeling pain or distress that is their reality.
Hold space for them instead. Find time for them. Just be there, even if for a short while.
Maybe try “this is really tough for you, how can I help?”.
“Would you like to talk about it? I’ll do my best to listen” (nb: then actually listen – often people don’t need solutions, just to be heard).
But please, don’t compare their pain and force gratitude down their throat. I hardly think gratitude is meant to be used as a weapon.
If you let them feel what they feel and talk it through and encourage them – they’ll find gratitude again.
Stop weaponising gratitude.