This is not just about recovery. This is for everyone.
Lately I’ve been seeing this trend of diminishing others experience to either maintain or legitimize the status quo. In the realm of recovery from a mental health or substance abuse challenge diminishing someone’s experience can be devastating. Devastating to the point that it can and has led to suicide attempts.
Imagine if you’ve been raped. If you’ve survived the worst trauma you could possibly imagine. Your very power, self-worth, autonomy was forcibly taken from you. Now imagine that a person who is supposed to be there to help and support you utters these words…
“You really need to be thankful it wasn’t worse. You see this person over here? It happens to them all the time.”
How would that make you feel?
That level of diminishment is happening on a daily basis within our society. We ignore injustice by pointing to what we feel is worse that is happening to others. It’s chaining us to a position of accepting something we should have the courage to change.
Over the course of my recovery and my work in the mental health field I’ve learned a very hard lesson. My experience has nothing to do with anyone else. Someone else’s experience has nothing to do with anyone else. It belongs to the individual. I have no right to even attempt to change that. I need to respect that. I need to help them learn to grow and cope with that experience. Just because you or I may look at it and think their experience wasn’t that bad or that so and so has it worse means absolutely nothing. That individual was negatively impacted in some way by that experience and comparing it to anything to offer “perspective” of the severity of it only diminishes the individual. You may only have one chance to help someone. If you diminish what they’re going through, that one and only chance may have just been squandered.
This applies everywhere in life. Everywhere.
The longer we diminish the more we chain ourselves to accept things we shouldn’t have to. We want to be able to grow.
Stop diminishing. Have the courage to start acknowledging and respecting.
Break the chains of accepting the things we don’t have to.
Break those chains for someone else.
Break those chains for you.
Break those chains.