I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…

woman holding brown wooden framed light bulb

You’re not the standard for which other folk should live by nor do you have the right to set the standard for which people should live by.

 

As I scrolled Facebook the other day, I saw a post that suggested people liked to complain, beg, and look for handouts. The person hypothesized that if she could pull herself up everyday and get to work, then so could everyone else. She also claimed that she’s been depressed and still had to get things done. She claimed she didn’t use her depression as a crutch, and that people needed to stop being lazy. This isn’t the first time she has said such things. She likes to pontificate about how she raised her child with no help or child support from the father. She says she made it happen no matter what.

On the surface, nothing seems wrong or out of turn about her comments. However, if you dig beneath it all, you will see a woman who has determined she’s the standard for which people should live by. She feels because she’s suffered (although I doubt she’s suffered being she has a village at her disposal) to raise her child alone then other women should stop complaining about having to do it alone. She feels because she has had to suffer through depression, alone, and not complain then nobody else should complain either.

Often, we hear people say, “If I can do it, you can, too.” On the surface, some of these people mean well. But if we dig deeper, we see that people often set themselves as the standard for which other people should live. Deep down, some of these people aren’t being 100% honest. No one ever truly does it all on their own, without any help.

The Facebook friend I spoke about earlier, while she does work very hard to support her child, she also has a village behind her. She lives with a family member with whom she splits bills. She has family and friends she can call when she needs a break from mothering her small child. She has a whole support system in place that a lot of other single mothers don’t have. So for her to get online and pretend as if she’s Superwoman is dishonest. Yes, it’s possible that she suffers from depression, but to require other people suffer in silence because she does is egregious.

We have to get out of the mindset that “If I did it this way, then you should, too.” We have to stop requiring people to suffer in silence because we did it and now others should or can do it, too. Again, some of the people who say this mean well, but it’s self-centered and show that even the most good hearted of people can still lack empathy.

Often, we get on our high horses to speak down to or belittle others. We think we know what others are going through because we’ve been there, too. While this may be true, we have to be careful with our words and be mindful of the way we handle people. This isn’t to say we have to coddle folk in their mess. This is just a reminder that not everyone is as strong as you, and they aren’t required to be.

 

Nikki Michelle is an author and reviewer. Pick up a copy of her latest book Promised Land. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @NikkiMichelle84. Leave your thoughts below on this article.

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