“Happiness will never come to those who don’t appreciate what they have.”
And then they qualified this with:
“Did you know that the more we keep complaining about the things we don’t have, the more God keeps sending us worries to complain about..”
This is NOT helpful on so many levels, and I shall tell you why:
Firstly, happiness is not a reward it is a state of mind which can be affected by so many things, let’s say someone thinks someone else’s life is amazing but thinks that person is ungrateful because they are depressed, how does the person casting judgement know how the other suffers?
Do not judge people as you have not walked in their shoes.
Secondly, what if you have no stability, love, family or what if you are alone due to being on the outside of society with no rights due to your disability / ethnicity / gender / religion / sexual orientation.
Or due to being rejected by your community, friends and family? What if you have no food, water or shelter? Are you then ungrateful because you are depressed / unhappy with “what you have been given”?
Does God (who is considered all knowing, all loving and all powerful) then decide – that YOU are unhappy with what has been given to you to deal with in life and then decide to add more to your burdens? And this also suggests that you only have the unhappiness you have – because you were ungrateful. Not because life is cruel and unfair, but because YOU asked for it.
Lastly, this kind of rhetoric is so damaging, it shames people, it makes the most vulnerable people on this planet feel further isolated and judged for their misfortune or illness. It makes people with mental illness who are also believers of God think they are responsible for something they do not control, making them feel less able to discuss their issues with their community.
I am a Deist which means I believe in God, but I do not believe in God as a man sitting in judgement of us all, intervening on a whim to help people in their day to day lives but leaves out famine, poverty, war, child abuse, rape, natural disasters etc.
I believe in God as a word to describe our existence and the universes existence. As a Deist I rely on rational thought and logic, not on dogmatic beliefs. However this does not mean I judge those who do, my husband is Muslim and I was raised French Catholic, but I do wish to discuss the harm and mixed messages which arise within religion and spirituality with regards to mental illness. This is all I am doing here.
So all I ask is that next time, people think about what they are writing and posting out to the world on social media, think of those you judge with your post or those you may isolate.
I hate the think-positive-and-all-will-be-well comments… and quotes such as “People are as happy as they make up their minds to be”. It is quotes, and comments (however well meant) that have always led me to withdraw/hide when mental health symptoms are at their worse… It is only when I begin to feel a little stronger that I feel able to reach out, and even then I am careful who I reach out to. I’m lucky, I have an incredibly supportive group of online friends… my bad periods (when I feel strong enough to share) are always met with kindness/empathy… But, there are many sufferers who are not so lucky.
I agree with you that stigma-comments are damaging… if ever I’m told to ‘keep smiling’… ‘keep my chin up’, or ‘think positive’, ect I am left feeling ashamed, worthless…weak… as if I’m not trying hard enough. Sadly, even those closest to us can make us feel this way at times.
No-one gets it, unless they’ve got it.
Great post Charlotte! Well done x
You are spot on with this.