The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Fake smiles

In a society that focuses on the positive, there is a high probability that people who are experiencing challenging situations will find it hard to share their situation. And this might be less due to the situation itself than the expectations others have to see that situation end on a positive note.

People are well-meaning and search for ways to encourage the person. In doing so, they have the hope that the bad situation will go away or that the person doesn’t have to endure what they are experiencing.

But often, that’s not how things work. Encouraging someone is one thing. Analyzing the situation is another thing. By focusing on the expectation that the person solves the challenge they are experiencing, there is a good chance that the person feels pressed to create that positive end of the story. And if they don’t know how to do it, they’ll put up a fake smile. The reason they do so is that they started to feel shame and doubt their ability. Not only that, they now also received an additional option to criticize themselves. Their new story is that they have not been positive enough. It’s a story they create whenever they discount the possibility that they actually can’t transform the situation.





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