Time heals almost everything. Give time, time, Regina Brett.
I want you to put yourself in my shoes twenty years ago. You are twenty-something and you are diagnosed with cancer. What would you do?
Of course, you could say that you would focus on solutions rather than problems. Sure enough, you would follow all the doctor’s advice and instructions on your treatment and would think positively that everything will turn out just fine. You would make sure to get all the help and support that you can, enjoy life, and avoid thinking about complications that might arise.
That’s right, but you also have to give yourself time to whine, cry, and be sad. We are human beings, not machines and as such, we have flaws and shortcomings, high and low moments, and we all need time to integrate life's events, especially the most painful and difficult ones.
And yet, it is important to recognize that you will have to accept your reality and circumstances, take responsibility for your life, learn to live and cope with it, and move on.
It is completely useless, pointless, and wasteful to carry on complaining about your bad luck, about what you have lost, your pains and sorrows. You will only get sad, bitter, and frustrated in an endless cycle of self-victimization, self-sabotage, and self-fulfilling prophecies that lead nowhere, but misery.
You should also be careful and tactful about how you offer your advice to someone who is struggling with a big problem and is complaining bitterly about it.
Don’t lecture them about seeking alternatives to overcome their problems; focusing on solutions rather than problems; their needs to reinterpret their difficulties, problems, and circumstances as opportunities to grow and become stronger. Even worse, you may be inclined to criticize their attitude: it is not as bad as you think it is; Sometimes all it takes is trust that it all will work out just fine; your negativity is counter-productive and contagious; you will sink even deeper in sorrow and self-pity; you will make your life, and all of those around you, a misery, etc.
Please, before you speak, stop and think. First, make sure that you listen actively and empathically to the person who is struggling and suffering. It can be difficult to grasp the depth and scope of these situations, problems, and circumstances and we cannot know how we would face it if the same thing happened to us.
We are usually far more helpful when we listen more and speak less and with empathy: “The amount of setbacks and problems you are facing is unbelievable,” “You are showing a very strong character and resilience in the face of adversity,” “I do not know what I would do in a similar situation, but I will pray for you/but I think I would not be able to be as strong as you are,” etc.
And then, and only then, you could add: “However, I think you should gradually try to focus more on ideas and strategies to help you cope better with this situation,” “Perhaps, you need to have some fun and enjoy life with friends and relatives, why don’t you come with us this Saturday? This way you have less time to think about your problem and slowly but surely begin the healing process.”