Cope: to deal with and attempt to overcome problems and difficulties —often used with with <learning to cope with the demands of her schedule> ~ Merriam-Webster
I’ve spent the last few days just getting by. Some of it is my own fault for not taking care of myself. Some of it was just so random…things you would never expect. A close friend struggling with a difficult situation. A friend’s service dog was hit and killed by a car. More news stories about violent deaths in my city. More stores about bombings overseas. Posts in my social media about missing and exploited children. Ferguson. That’s a lot of things to cope with.
I know I’m not the only one who gets told to “just deal with it” and cope. I’m starting to really dislike that word. Cope implies that I can contain all my emotions. Cope implies that I have to keep a stiff upper lip. Cope implies I’m less than if I cry. It’s a lousy piece of advice to give to someone who feels deeply.
There’s a lot going on this time of year where people get told to cope. The holidays bring strong emotions to the surface for many people. There are empty seats at the table. Empty stockings in times of relative bounty. Empty hearts that are still healing. And the best advice we can offer is to cope?
I think not. I’d like to think my readers of this little blog can sense my emotions when I write. I try to use words that convey what’s going through my head and my heart. I think we can do better. I think we should do better.
Instead of telling people to move on, get over it or cope…try a random act of kindness. Take a coffee or tea to someone. Bake a few extra cookies for a friend. Invite people to share in the liveliness of your home. Try listening without judging. Kindness is free….sprinkle that stuff everywhere!
Your challenge: Let go of judgment and stigma. Take a chance on offering a smile and a handshake. Help where you can. Be kind. And please, don’t tell people to cope.