Try To Be A Rainbow In Someone’s Cloud

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud
graphic © eminentlyquotable.com | photo – Wikipedia

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

How do you cheer someone up? This question has riddled psychologists for ages, because not everyone responds to regular cheer-me-up statements, like “Everything’s gonna be fine.” In fact, they could even be annoying, or worse, unempathetic!

A new study led by Denise Marigold, a social psychologist at the University of Waterloo, found that cheerful encouragements work far less helpful than simple affirmations of a person’s feelings-specifically people with low self-esteem. Apparently, those with a gloomy outlook don’t want sunshine; they just want understanding.

Ultimately, depressed people just want to be treated normal and not as if there’s something wrong with them. Dr. Marigold remarked, “What we think is well-intentioned support is really alienating for them. They feel as if people don’t understand their issues and don’t accept their feelings. It almost demonstrates a lack of caring.”

Generally, people have a tendency to impose their optimism-on a good intention-because it’s always been thought to be effective for all people. When this fails to cheer up the people we care about, we feel frustrated and inadequate. But through negative validation, which “communicates that the feelings, actions, or responses of the recipient are normal and appropriate to the situation” the people in pain will be more likely to feel loved and comforted.

As the Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, “We must learn to regard people less in the light or what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”

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