Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: MamaMootz on February 08, 2013, 06:58:12 PM

Title: Count your Blessings
Post by: MamaMootz on February 08, 2013, 06:58:12 PM
Not sure if this should go in technology because it involves Facebook, but I'm putting it here because it involves real life situations with the commentary made.

I posted something on Facebook about a certain situation that I personally find upsetting. My cousin, who is also a minister, responded to my comment with a rather preachy reply asking me questions like "Do you have your health? A husband that loves you? A great job?" and went on to say that I should count my blessings. This has me annoyed because  she is invalidating my feelings on the original issue.

It's like when someone is complaining about having the flu because they don't feel good, and someone turns around and says "Count your blessings! At least you don't have cancer!"

This kind of thing drives me nuts. I realize as a minister she is in the business of putting a positive spin on things, but for goodness' sake, I'm allowed to feel bad about something without having to worry about comparing myself to someone else who has it worse. I get it. Someone else will ALWAYS have it worse.

Etiquette comes in here: what do I say to her in response that is still polite, but also lets her know this comment isn't really OK with me?
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Amara on February 08, 2013, 07:04:09 PM
"The fact that others have worse things to deal with or that I have other blessings in my life--and those are facts--does not vitiate the pain I feel about this."
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: DottyG on February 08, 2013, 07:09:56 PM
Amara says it perfectly, I think.

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Sharnita on February 08, 2013, 07:13:10 PM
Oh, while I appreciate your prayers and support for my toothache, of course I encourage you to pray for everyone with cancer too.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: auntmeegs on February 08, 2013, 07:13:23 PM
CRUD MONKEYS!, I can. not. STAND that!  I am a really easy going person and do not have many pet peeves, but it makes me crazy when people do this.  It could always be worse, I suppose, so does that mean we are never allowed to complain about anything, ever?  Because somewhere in the world there are people living in huts with no running water so you should just be thankful?  ::)

I wouldn't even reply, I would simply delete his comment.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: WillyNilly on February 08, 2013, 07:24:55 PM
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: CaffeineKatie on February 08, 2013, 07:39:39 PM
Postings like hers are why Facebook has a delete button--as I said to another OP earlier, it's YOUR wall, so feel free to delete annoying, depressing, belittling, nagging postings as you see fit.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: mmswm on February 08, 2013, 07:52:15 PM
I generally find myself saying the exact opposite of that to my friends.  Sometimes my friends will make a comment to the effect of "I don't want to complain about <random health issue with their kids> because I know how much worse your kids have it."  Yup, two of my kids have a bone disease and it sucks.  There's nothing we can do about it except live life as fully as we can.  That doesn't mean that your kids' broken bone/sprained joint/bout with the chicken pox doesn't suck for them.

You have a right to feel less than happy when cruddy stuff happens to you. I don't know, however, if there's anything you can say when people try to belittle your pain.  I agree with the poster that advised to simply delete the comment.  It's your page.  You get to choose what's on it.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: GSNW on February 08, 2013, 08:03:03 PM
Agreed - delete the comment.  This kind of nagging at people who share something upsetting is so rude and really quite snotty.  I wouldn't be surprised if she asks why it was deleted, but you feel free to tell her - "Stop complaining and count your blessings, some people don't even have a computer on which to view their friends' complaints!"
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: oceanus on February 08, 2013, 08:16:01 PM
I would not respond.
Delete the comment.
Facebook fights ~~>ICK.  ::)  Waste of time and energy.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gramma dishes on February 08, 2013, 08:18:59 PM
...    feel free to tell her - "Stop complaining and count your blessings, some people don't even have a computer on which to view their friends' complaints!"

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: JenJay on February 08, 2013, 08:47:52 PM
Agreed - delete the comment.  This kind of nagging at people who share something upsetting is so rude and really quite snotty.  I wouldn't be surprised if she asks why it was deleted, but you feel free to tell her - "Stop complaining and count your blessings, some people don't even have a computer on which to view their friends' complaints!"

 ;D

I once saw a reply along the lines of "Sooo.... you're complaining that I'm complaining?"  8)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: snappylt on February 08, 2013, 09:11:30 PM
I'll bet, if she attended an accredited seminary, that that sort of reply was not how she was taught to reply to her parishioners' concerns.

Would it be retaliatory rudeness on your part to point out to her that you shared a concern and she replied by putting you down and completely invalidating your concern?  Would it be rude of you to point blank ask her if that how she was taught to treat parishioners?
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: CakeEater on February 08, 2013, 10:00:25 PM
I counted and came up with 326 blessings. However, I still have [upsetting situation] going on. A virtual hug would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: LifeOnPluto on February 08, 2013, 11:10:26 PM
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.

This is a great response!

To me, "count your blessings" is like saying "first world problem", for any issue that doesn't involve starvation, or living in a war zone, or being at death's door, etc.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Luci on February 08, 2013, 11:32:50 PM
I'll bet, if she attended an accredited seminary, that that sort of reply was not how she was taught to reply to her parishioners' concerns.

Would it be retaliatory rudeness on your part to point out to her that you shared a concern and she replied by putting you down and completely invalidating your concern?  Would it be rude of you to point blank ask her if that how she was taught to treat parishioners?

I wouldn't cast aspersions on her education without knowing more, but I'll bet she's forgotten to practice what she was told.

In our minimal training about how to talk with victims of natural disasters, the first thing we are taught is everyone's pain is to be validated. We need to feel as sympathetic to the family that was without power for a few days as to the family whose home was washed away completely. In practicing that, I've learned that it's true - everyone's pain is equally important.

I would be tempted to go snappy's route, but it really is better to delete and forget.

I hope your upsetting situation is resolved.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: paige =^..^= on February 09, 2013, 02:16:00 AM
Saw this on Pinterest, thought it might be appropriate:

(http://media-cache-ec7.pinterest.com/192/89/44/72/89447271527ce1e0a3d2263d07eb2a4b.jpg)

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Amava on February 09, 2013, 02:26:39 AM
Saw this on Pinterest, thought it might be appropriate:

(http://media-cache-ec7.pinterest.com/192/89/44/72/89447271527ce1e0a3d2263d07eb2a4b.jpg)

Nice one!
The sad thing is that some people actually do just that.
We had a topic here in the hugs folder a couple of days ago from someone who was snapped at by a stranger: "What do you have to smile about?" this "gentleman" asked her.  :o

Seems like to some people we just can't do good. If we're sad, we have not enough reason to, and if we're happy, we have not enough reason to, either. What are we supposed to do to, just walk around emotionless like robots.


OP, as for "counting your blessings": I force /myself/ to do that sometimes, but I would never tell someone else to do that. I'm all for gently trying to help a sad person look on the bright side of life, but not in a condescending and dismissive way, because that is indeed much less than helpful!
You would be totally within the right to call this lady out on her dismissive behaviour and explain to her why her attitude is not helping you at all. Gently. I'd approach it from a positive angle, voicing that I know she is probably trying to be helpful;  but explain why it doesn't help at the moment.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Girlie on February 09, 2013, 08:37:32 AM
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.

This is a great response!

To me, "count your blessings" is like saying "first world problem", for any issue that doesn't involve starvation, or living in a war zone, or being at death's door, etc.

POD.

While I've seen "first world problem" used appropriately, it is very rare.

"Count your blessings" is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, either, but it's appropriateness is in who says it, who it is said to, and what it is said about; ie. I can understand a parent saying that to a disgruntled teenager upset about not having the newest, expensive piece of clothing or technology. I cannot give a pass to someone who lectures someone about how lucky they are that they "even have a job," when the conditions aren't great, the environment is awful, and the pay isn't nearly high enough. 

In general, it is better to err on the side of caution and say nothing. In the event that someone says something like that to you, I recommend ignoring it (in person), or deleting it (online). 
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Luci on February 09, 2013, 08:47:11 AM

While I've seen "first world problem" used appropriately, it is very rare.

"Count your blessings" is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, either, but it's appropriateness is in who says it, who it is said to, and what it is said about; ie. I can understand a parent saying that to a disgruntled teenager upset about not having the newest, expensive piece of clothing or technology. I cannot give a pass to someone who lectures someone about how lucky they are that they "even have a job," when the conditions aren't great, the environment is awful, and the pay isn't nearly high enough. 

This is a good point. I use it on myself often and when I explained this to the person in charge of our training, he said that it is a good coping mechanism for me. Just don't put it on anyone else inappropriately.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 09, 2013, 09:00:26 AM
I tend to let the person who's complaining be the one to say "It could be worse" or "I should count my blessings" because it is a very belittling thing to say to someone else unless what they're complaining about does seem very trivial and superficial, ie a pp's mention of a teen whining because they don't have the latest phone/video game system.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: weeblewobble on February 09, 2013, 09:02:53 AM
I counted and came up with 326 blessings. However, I still have [upsetting situation] going on. A virtual hug would be appreciated.

Dang it, where is the "like" button?
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: MamaMootz on February 09, 2013, 09:51:32 AM
OP here - i think I'm going to use CakeEater's line. I love it. I have just ignored the comment so far, because she is a very nice person and I know she means well.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gen xer on February 09, 2013, 10:47:22 AM
Saw this on Pinterest, thought it might be appropriate:

(http://media-cache-ec7.pinterest.com/192/89/44/72/89447271527ce1e0a3d2263d07eb2a4b.jpg)

Nice one!
The sad thing is that some people actually do just that.
We had a topic here in the hugs folder a couple of days ago from someone who was snapped at by a stranger: "What do you have to smile about?" this "gentleman" asked her.  :o

Seems like to some people we just can't do good. If we're sad, we have not enough reason to, and if we're happy, we have not enough reason to, either. What are we supposed to do to, just walk around emotionless like robots.


OP, as for "counting your blessings": I force /myself/ to do that sometimes, but I would never tell someone else to do that. I'm all for gently trying to help a sad person look on the bright side of life, but not in a condescending and dismissive way, because that is indeed much less than helpful!
You would be totally within the right to call this lady out on her dismissive behaviour and explain to her why her attitude is not helping you at all. Gently. I'd approach it from a positive angle, voicing that I know she is probably trying to be helpful;  but explain why it doesn't help at the moment.

Exactly.  Counting your blessings isn't a bad thing and can give people some perspective on a situation.  I try to force myself to do it too and wish other people would try....but actually saying that to someone comes off as very sanctimonious and belittling.  Nothing discourages someone from opening up more than thinking you're going to get a pious speech that negates your feelings.  People feel what they feel....and I say this as somewhat of a reformed "Buck up it could be worse" kind of person who was not always the most patient with a lot of emotional drama.

We all have things that bother us that wouldn't bother someone else to the same degree.  I admit to struggling to understand why situation X might be so distressing to someone....but they might struggle to understand why situation Y is so distressing to me.

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: oceanus on February 09, 2013, 07:50:23 PM
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.

This is a great response!

To me, "count your blessings" is like saying "first world problem", for any issue that doesn't involve starvation, or living in a war zone, or being at death's door, etc.

???

Why "throw it back at her" on Facebook, of all places?
I don't see that as a great response at all, unless one likes to keep FB fights going.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: cicero on February 10, 2013, 05:29:49 AM

This kind of thing drives me nuts. I realize as a minister she is in the business of putting a positive spin on things, but for goodness' sake, I'm allowed to feel bad about something without having to worry about comparing myself to someone else who has it worse. I get it. Someone else will ALWAYS have it worse.

is that really true? i didn't think that ministers necessarily are in the business of putting a positive spin on things. i would actually expect a little /lot of empathy from a minister. Yes, they can try to do the whole "count your blessings" things - but that would come way after "wow. i'm so sorry to hear. sounds like you are having a really tough time right now. is there anything i can do to help?"

i use the "count your blessings" on myself when i find myself feeling down about stuff, but i never say it to someone else. most of us are pretty much aware of the good we have in life, but that doesn't really make us feel great when we have to do root canal and have no insurance (or money), or when the fridge, washer and water heater all go on the same day
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: suzieQ on February 10, 2013, 06:12:42 AM
This is the attitude I've gotten from my Mom my whole life. Someone else ALWAYS has it worse. I finally stood up to her (I'm in my 40's now) this past year and told her to *never* give me that garbage again.
I don't know how old your FB friend is, but I'm thinking she may never have had any hard blows in her life.
I can only imagine someone who has sailed through life with no big difficulties can say that kind of thing.

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: bonyk on February 10, 2013, 06:48:41 AM
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.

This is a great response!

To me, "count your blessings" is like saying "first world problem", for any issue that doesn't involve starvation, or living in a war zone, or being at death's door, etc.

???

Why "throw it back at her" on Facebook, of all places?
I don't see that as a great response at all, unless one likes to keep FB fights going.

I agree.  I think "person of the cloth" escalates it into personal attack territory.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: scotcat60 on February 10, 2013, 09:51:57 AM
We've all said "Mustn't grumble" or " Could be worse", but sometmes you have to let loose and grumble. Keeping it to yourself can be bad for you.  This count your blessing smacks of reducing you to unimportance, as though you have no right to complain. It's like saying "That's not fair" and being told "Life isn't fair sometimes" We know it's not, but if we all sat down and said that all the time, things would never be changed for the better.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: MamaMootz on February 10, 2013, 10:07:29 AM
OP here. I replied to her on the thread and said something along the lines of while it is great to count my blessings and I do realize I have a lot of them, the issue I complained about upset me and there is nothing wrong with that. She simply replied "soldier on" so I'm assuming she got the message.

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Allyson on February 10, 2013, 11:26:49 AM
I really don't like the 'some people have it worse' attitude. It seems so dismissive to me. By this standard, nobody would ever be allowed to be upset. Well, all right, one person would be allowed to be upset--the person in the world who currently has it worst of anyone anywhere. Since none of us know who that is, I think we can just leave off telling others to count their blessings at all.

I'm pretty sure nobody has ever been made to feel *better* about a situation by being told others have it worse. Just guilty and annoyed.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: citadelle on February 10, 2013, 01:21:28 PM
It is annoying, I agree. But sometimes, from the right person, it does/can put things back into perspective for me. I still don't use it on anyone else. Well, except, on occasion, my kids, who are both young enough to need such perspective from me sometimes.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: silvercelt on February 10, 2013, 01:54:47 PM
Unfortunately, I have seen similar responses to posts here on EH.  It tends to happen mostly when someone posts about a parent.  That is when I see a lot of "Well, at least you still have a mother. I'd give anything to have mine back, you should count your blessings" type posts.  Just because the person saying this had a great relationship with their mother doesn't mean that the OP doesn't have a legitimate complaint.  Not everyone is the same.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 10, 2013, 02:01:46 PM
In the OP's situation and others described here, I can definitely see how it would be belittling and dismissive, especially depending on the tone/other words used.

On the other hand, I feel like variations on this can be very helpful in giving people perspective, if they're tailored to that person's situation. For example, a friend might say, "I hate my job, nobody listens to me, I feel like I'm not making any difference!" and I might say, "Oh, that stinks, I'm so sorry you feel that way. But weren't you telling me last week how Jane appreciated your comments on her reports? So there's one person who seems to listen to you."

Or a friend might complain about her apartment--too small, too expensive, etc.--and, after expressing sympathy, I might say, "But it's so much closer to work, isn't it? So you don't have the long commute like you used to, and doesn't that save a lot of gas money and wear and tear on your car?"

Kind of helping them see the bright side of their particular situation. I feel like I get positive results when I do this, anyway.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 10, 2013, 07:07:35 PM
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.

This is a great response!

To me, "count your blessings" is like saying "first world problem", for any issue that doesn't involve starvation, or living in a war zone, or being at death's door, etc.

???

Why "throw it back at her" on Facebook, of all places?
I don't see that as a great response at all, unless one likes to keep FB fights going.

Before I reply, please clarify: do you mean why throw it back at her at all or just specifically on Facebook?
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Daquiri40 on February 11, 2013, 09:02:05 AM
I agree that it is a rude comment.  If the OP regularly complains about trivial things, then I can understand but I don't think OP does. 

If I have one broken leg, and you have two does that invalidate my pain?

I have a friend who was in a psych ward for clinical depression because her 17 year old son died.  A woman in therapy said to her, "is that all?  My mother and father died and then my sister and my child is sick!!".  The therapist said pain is pain.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 11, 2013, 09:43:09 AM
I don't see it as invalidating the pain but rather encouraging a person to gain perspective and not let the pain overshadow the good.  I've had quite a bit of trauma in my life (some I have posted about here, some I have not) and now I truly believe that seeking happiness and spending as little time as possible dwelling on things that upset me is the way to go.  I didn't use to believe that and would focus on how I was justified in being upset.  And the thing is, I was justified in being upset about a, b, c or d.  But did it to me any good to be upset about it?  Nope.  Did being upset diminish the quality of my life? Absolutely. I get that the OP did not appreciate the comment from her friend, but overall I don't agree that the concept of "focus on your blessings" is a bad thing or is diminishing or invalidating pain.  I see it as a reminder of a philosophy of life that works for me and for a great many people. 
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Yvaine on February 11, 2013, 09:53:10 AM
I don't see it as invalidating the pain but rather encouraging a person to gain perspective and not let the pain overshadow the good.  I've had quite a bit of trauma in my life (some I have posted about here, some I have not) and now I truly believe that seeking happiness and spending as little time as possible dwelling on things that upset me is the way to go.  I didn't use to believe that and would focus on how I was justified in being upset.  And the thing is, I was justified in being upset about a, b, c or d.  But did it to me any good to be upset about it?  Nope.  Did being upset diminish the quality of my life? Absolutely. I get that the OP did not appreciate the comment from her friend, but overall I don't agree that the concept of "focus on your blessings" is a bad thing or is diminishing or invalidating pain.  I see it as a reminder of a philosophy of life that works for me and for a great many people.

But it's best used on oneself, rather than used to bludgeon others. I have all kinds of things I tell myself, as tools for coping with things, that would be quite rude if I dumped them on other people unsolicitedly.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 11, 2013, 10:02:59 AM
But it's best used on oneself, rather than used to bludgeon others. I have all kinds of things I tell myself, as tools for coping with things, that would be quite rude if I dumped them on other people unsolicitedly.

In my opinion, posting something on facebook is soliciting feedback.  I would not personally post either the OP's status or the friend's response, but I don't think the friend was invalidating the OP's pain as I explained in my previous post.  I think the best idea is to either not post things like the OP posted or to take whatever comments in the best light or delete the ones that upset her.  I don't think escalating, especially when she said she knows the friend meant well, is the way to go, both in terms of etiquette and in terms of how to have a happier life.  Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: oceanus on February 11, 2013, 02:43:20 PM
The "count your blessings" thing reminds me of some of my elderly relatives, now gone, including my father.  "Be thankful you have a roof over your head and food in your stomach everyday".

Well, okay.   ::)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: violinp on February 11, 2013, 02:48:46 PM
The "count your blessings" thing reminds me of some of my elderly relatives, now gone, including my father.  "Be thankful you have a roof over your head and food in your stomach everyday".

Well, okay.   ::)

Exactly. I can be thankful for what I have and be sad for what I do not have at the same time. The two are not diametrically opposed, and we don't have the emotional ranges of teaspoons.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: bah12 on February 11, 2013, 03:02:46 PM
This is pretty much in line with some recent threads/themes about what to say to someone who is upset about something.  Some people say, "Be positive!  It helps me."  and others say "agree with everything they say about how bad it is, because that helps me."

I'll just say what I've said in all those other threads.  Everyone sees things differently and depending on the person and what they want to hear to make them feel better, there is no "one size fits all" answer.

That being said, I think it's always appropriate to validate feelings first.  Whether or not someone wants to hear how it could be worse, or wants someone else to lament in their misery (this is extreme), validating feelings; i.e. "I'm sorry your dealing with this.  This must be hard for you. etc" is always a smart way to start.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: wyliefool on February 11, 2013, 03:04:32 PM
OP here. I replied to her on the thread and said something along the lines of while it is great to count my blessings and I do realize I have a lot of them, the issue I complained about upset me and there is nothing wrong with that. She simply replied "soldier on" so I'm assuming she got the message.

I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 11, 2013, 03:12:19 PM
I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

As the daughter of a pastor who is dating a pastor and who has spoken with various pastors in times of grief, I have some insight into this.  Of course different people handle things differently, but never was I under the impression that a pastor is there to validate his parishoners feelings and agree with them that they are rightfully angry or upset but rather to provide them with ways of living a happy life despite tragedy or trauma.  I always understood (and experienced) the pastor's role to be one of providing hope in the face of despair, which would be far closer to "count your blessings" than it would be to "you are absolutely right to be wallowing in self pity."  (Not saying the OP is wallowing in self pity, just pointing out the difference in approach here).
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 11, 2013, 03:13:29 PM
I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

As the daughter of a pastor who is dating a pastor and who has spoken with various pastors in times of grief, I have some insight into this.  Of course different people handle things differently, but never was I under the impression that a pastor is there to validate his parishoners feelings and agree with them that they are rightfully angry or upset but rather to provide them with ways of living a happy life despite tragedy or trauma.  I always understood (and experienced) the pastor's role to be one of providing hope in the face of despair, which would be far closer to "count your blessings" than it would be to "you are absolutely right to be wallowing in self pity."  (Not saying the OP is wallowing in self pity, just pointing out the difference in approach here).

I think it's a comment on how the pastor phrased it rather than on the idea itself.  At least, that's how I read it.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: staceym on February 11, 2013, 03:20:39 PM
OP here. I replied to her on the thread and said something along the lines of while it is great to count my blessings and I do realize I have a lot of them, the issue I complained about upset me and there is nothing wrong with that. She simply replied "soldier on" so I'm assuming she got the message.

I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

yep; she didn't get your messgage - it was basically "yeah, whatever"
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 11, 2013, 03:23:59 PM
This is pretty much in line with some recent threads/themes about what to say to someone who is upset about something.  Some people say, "Be positive!  It helps me."  and others say "agree with everything they say about how bad it is, because that helps me."

I'll just say what I've said in all those other threads.  Everyone sees things differently and depending on the person and what they want to hear to make them feel better, there is no "one size fits all" answer.

That being said, I think it's always appropriate to validate feelings first.  Whether or not someone wants to hear how it could be worse, or wants someone else to lament in their misery (this is extreme), validating feelings; i.e. "I'm sorry your dealing with this.  This must be hard for you. etc" is always a smart way to start.

POD. Sometimes people just want to rant, sometimes they want active consolation, sometimes they want ideas for improvement, sometimes giving them perspective helps. I am a problem-solver so I have to remind myself that not everyone complaining to me wants me to come up with a solution for them--sometimes they just want me to sit there and listen, or offer sympathy. On something as short as a Facebook status update I probably wouldn't comment any further than "Oh, sorry to hear that!" just because I wouldn't be able to discern what the person really wanted (and brief sympathy is usually the safest choice, if I'm going to comment at all).

Come to think of it, I've witnessed something similar to the OP's situation on my friends' walls--usually with one of their friends saying something about how much worse they or others have it--and I've always thought that person (the commenter) was being rude, or at the best insensitive (is that better than rude?).
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: RingTailedLemur on February 11, 2013, 03:26:32 PM
IMO if someone posts on FB that they are feeling sad or upset, it is rude for someone to tell them they shouldn't.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 11, 2013, 03:37:03 PM
IMO if someone posts on FB that they are feeling sad or upset, it is rude for someone to tell them they shouldn't.

I don't think that's limited to just FB.  I'd be really put out if someone said that to my face.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: RingTailedLemur on February 11, 2013, 03:46:03 PM
IMO if someone posts on FB that they are feeling sad or upset, it is rude for someone to tell them they shouldn't.

I don't think that's limited to just FB.  I'd be really put out if someone said that to my face.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: wyliefool on February 12, 2013, 07:15:31 AM
I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

As the daughter of a pastor who is dating a pastor and who has spoken with various pastors in times of grief, I have some insight into this.  Of course different people handle things differently, but never was I under the impression that a pastor is there to validate his parishoners feelings and agree with them that they are rightfully angry or upset but rather to provide them with ways of living a happy life despite tragedy or trauma.  I always understood (and experienced) the pastor's role to be one of providing hope in the face of despair, which would be far closer to "count your blessings" than it would be to "you are absolutely right to be wallowing in self pity."  (Not saying the OP is wallowing in self pity, just pointing out the difference in approach here).

I would still think that 'sorry to hear it' would be the first thing to say. Then you can go on to providing hope or solutions.

Besides, in this instance the OP didn't go to a pastor to discuss her feelings, she posted on FB and this person commented insensitively. S/he just happens to be a pastor. It would have still been insensitive if s/he was a doctor or astronaut.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Miss Unleaded on February 12, 2013, 08:10:02 AM
Ugh, my parents always used to do this to me when I was young.  I still remember my mother's dismissive tone:  'Thousands of people have it worse than you, stop complaining!' or 'I wish I had your problems.' or 'If that's the worst you have to worry about then your life is pretty good'.

Then they complained that they never knew what was going on with me and that I didn't ever confide in them.   ::)

OP, I'd just delete her comment and block her from seeing your status updates.  I have no time for people like this.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Winterlight on February 12, 2013, 10:32:16 AM
I don't say it at all- it's not my place to make that call for someone else.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: BeagleMommy on February 12, 2013, 10:40:27 AM
POD to Lynn2000 that sometimes you just need to complain.

DH pulled something like this on me about two months ago.  I was feeling down because after three surgeries in one year I'm back in PT because the problem in my right shoulder decided to take up residence in my left shoulder.  When I got a little weepy and said "I feel like I'm falling apart" his reply was "Would you rather have your problem or what your aunt is going through?".

Now, the aunt he referred to has had multiple health problems all due to her own lifestyle.  My doctors have assured me that nothing I did caused my problems.  I started to cry and snapped that I had just wanted a little sympathy and reassurance that things would work out; not a lecture on how easy I had it.

OP, I think your cousin was dismissive of your feelings and you have every right to be upset.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Grancalla on February 12, 2013, 10:53:41 AM
I'm reminded of an image I saw going around Facebook for a while that just made me want to scream. Basically, it was along the lines of "Stop whining. You're 11 years old and have an iphone, you little s***."
Ignoring the "little s***" part, when I was 11, puberty hormones were driving me insane, bullies at school were making my life hell, I was worried about keeping my grades up. Exactly how would having an iphone have helped any of that?
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Yvaine on February 12, 2013, 11:03:35 AM
I'm reminded of an image I saw going around Facebook for a while that just made me want to scream. Basically, it was along the lines of "Stop whining. You're 11 years old and have an iphone, you little s***."
Ignoring the "little s***" part, when I was 11, puberty hormones were driving me insane, bullies at school were making my life hell, I was worried about keeping my grades up. Exactly how would having an iphone have helped any of that?

This. For starters, not every kid has an iPhone, and those memes make it sound like everyone does. And it's possible to still have problems while having an iPhone. Those memes aren't really going to help any 11-year-olds gain perspective. They're just for adults to read and feel superior.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 12, 2013, 11:21:14 AM
I'm reminded of an image I saw going around Facebook for a while that just made me want to scream. Basically, it was along the lines of "Stop whining. You're 11 years old and have an iphone, you little s***."
Ignoring the "little s***" part, when I was 11, puberty hormones were driving me insane, bullies at school were making my life hell, I was worried about keeping my grades up. Exactly how would having an iphone have helped any of that?

This. For starters, not every kid has an iPhone, and those memes make it sound like everyone does. And it's possible to still have problems while having an iPhone. Those memes aren't really going to help any 11-year-olds gain perspective. They're just for adults to read and feel superior.

In a similar way, I find the memes targeted at "older folks" about how they had to do things the "better = more difficult" way and how younger people take everything for granted to be rude... Sometimes they can be funny if they're just comparing how times have changed, but a lot of them, I feel, are very judgmental and dismissive of anyone "younger" who might be having a difficult time.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Redneck Gravy on February 12, 2013, 11:50:53 AM
I agree with PP your feelings were invalidated - twice.  Delete the comment.

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: citadelle on February 12, 2013, 12:35:04 PM
My youngest (9) and I do work at a food bank. I need for her to see that she does have advantages, and that not owning a DS or losing her iPod (in amongst all of the toys in her room) and being unable to find it will not "ruin her life" as she puts it.

In addition to listening to her and compassionately supporting her hopes, dreams and goals, I believe that part of my job is, in fact, teaching her to count her blessings.

I agree, though, that it isn't my job to help my friends count theirs, so I don't use those words with friends.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gramma dishes on February 12, 2013, 03:57:29 PM
My youngest (9) and I do work at a food bank. I need for her to see that she does have advantages, and that not owning a DS or losing her iPod (in amongst all of the toys in her room) and being unable to find it will not "ruin her life" as she puts it.

In addition to listening to her and compassionately supporting her hopes, dreams and goals, I believe that part of my job is, in fact, teaching her to count her blessings.

I agree, though, that it isn't my job to help my friends count theirs, so I don't use those words with friends.

You're obviously a great Mom and a conscientious one. 

But if your child came home from school and reported (for example) bullying behavior against her, you wouldn't just tell her to 'soldier on' or 'count your blessings' would you?  I'm pretty sure that you'd know that even though it's probably true that someone somewhere has it worse, you wouldn't invalidate her very real feelings of sadness and frustration that she's feeling right now.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: CakeEater on February 13, 2013, 12:11:37 AM
I must admit that as a teacher, I used this kind of sentiment with kids occasionally when I thought they really needed some perspective on situations.

I've also said this to myself and to other people about my own situations. But I would never say this to someone else.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Miss Unleaded on February 13, 2013, 01:03:09 AM
But if your child came home from school and reported (for example) bullying behavior against her, you wouldn't just tell her to 'soldier on' or 'count your blessings' would you?  I'm pretty sure that you'd know that even though it's probably true that someone somewhere has it worse, you wouldn't invalidate her very real feelings of sadness and frustration that she's feeling right now.

I think the danger with telling kids to 'count their blessings' when there are small issues is that they will learn not to come to an adult for help when the issues are bigger.  I was bullied (briefly, for a few weeks) in school but I never told my parents because by then I'd learned that they'd say that it wasn't really bad and to just deal with it. 
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: citadelle on February 13, 2013, 08:47:47 AM
But if your child came home from school and reported (for example) bullying behavior against her, you wouldn't just tell her to 'soldier on' or 'count your blessings' would you?  I'm pretty sure that you'd know that even though it's probably true that someone somewhere has it worse, you wouldn't invalidate her very real feelings of sadness and frustration that she's feeling right now.

I think the danger with telling kids to 'count their blessings' when there are small issues is that they will learn not to come to an adult for help when the issues are bigger.  I was bullied (briefly, for a few weeks) in school but I never told my parents because by then I'd learned that they'd say that it wasn't really bad and to just deal with it.

I am sorry that happened to you. When it comes to interpersonal situations, a different approach is needed. Perspective regarding advantages is more appropriate for when children are not valuing possessions or feeling entitled to more/better possessions.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: DavidH on February 13, 2013, 02:57:08 PM
In my experience, phrases like "count your blessings" and "at least you have your health" are not used compassionately or to make the person feel better, but are code for "your problems are insignificant", "you're just wining", or "stop complaining".  I think you can say to him, I found your comment dismissive of my feelings and hurtful, even though you may not have intended it that way.  He can either then apologize or not as he sees fit.  I personally would respond live, but that's just me.

I will confess that I have used the phrase if that's the worst thing you have to complain about you have things pretty good in the past, but not because I felt any compassion about the situation. 
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: MamaMootz on February 13, 2013, 05:16:14 PM
Hi, OP here again. Sorry I haven't been on in a couple of days and all of a sudden - 5 page thread.

The person responding to my comment is my 2nd cousin. I haven't seen her in about 10 years. I posted the comment to vent. I don't think she got that it was a vent. The verbal smackdown was irritating.

I guess she was trying to put it in some sort of perspective for me, but I still find the entire thing irritating and yes, dismissive.  I'm not wallowing in self-pity - I am actively trying to fix the situation but it takes time and the situation is still frustrating. So I vented.

I'm going to let it go... I used some of the great advice I got here, she seems to not have understood it, and there is no point trying to change her. From now on I'll be sure I hide my feed from her if I ever feel the need to vent again.


Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 13, 2013, 10:14:58 PM
But if your child came home from school and reported (for example) bullying behavior against her, you wouldn't just tell her to 'soldier on' or 'count your blessings' would you?  I'm pretty sure that you'd know that even though it's probably true that someone somewhere has it worse, you wouldn't invalidate her very real feelings of sadness and frustration that she's feeling right now.

I think the danger with telling kids to 'count their blessings' when there are small issues is that they will learn not to come to an adult for help when the issues are bigger.  I was bullied (briefly, for a few weeks) in school but I never told my parents because by then I'd learned that they'd say that it wasn't really bad and to just deal with it.

I am sorry that happened to you. When it comes to interpersonal situations, a different approach is needed. Perspective regarding advantages is more appropriate for when children are not valuing possessions or feeling entitled to more/better possessions.

I might have used something along these lines when I was made aware of a wish list my eldest child made of a lot of expensive things he wanted for Christmas and the comment "what matters more, the money or me?"  He knows that since his father got laid off this past summer and had to take a lower paying job, our Christmas budget was not that steep.  Not that it ever really was big, as DH and I usually only get each other one or two presents, depending on the cost.

In that case I think a "be grateful for what you do have" was an apt lesson, and since then he has still come to me with problems so I don't think he took it to mean "don't complain, ever." I also have not heard a peep about getting an iPad or gaming system either.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Yvaine on February 13, 2013, 10:19:02 PM
But if your child came home from school and reported (for example) bullying behavior against her, you wouldn't just tell her to 'soldier on' or 'count your blessings' would you?  I'm pretty sure that you'd know that even though it's probably true that someone somewhere has it worse, you wouldn't invalidate her very real feelings of sadness and frustration that she's feeling right now.

I think the danger with telling kids to 'count their blessings' when there are small issues is that they will learn not to come to an adult for help when the issues are bigger.  I was bullied (briefly, for a few weeks) in school but I never told my parents because by then I'd learned that they'd say that it wasn't really bad and to just deal with it.

I am sorry that happened to you. When it comes to interpersonal situations, a different approach is needed. Perspective regarding advantages is more appropriate for when children are not valuing possessions or feeling entitled to more/better possessions.

I might have used something along these lines when I was made aware of a wish list my eldest child made of a lot of expensive things he wanted for Christmas and the comment "what matters more, the money or me?"  He knows that since his father got laid off this past summer and had to take a lower paying job, our Christmas budget was not that steep.  Not that it ever really was big, as DH and I usually only get each other one or two presents, depending on the cost.

In that case I think a "be grateful for what you do have" was an apt lesson, and since then he has still come to me with problems so I don't think he took it to mean "don't complain, ever." I also have not heard a peep about getting an iPad or gaming system either.

Yeah, when the issue is actually money, I can see the point in pointing out (to your minor child, obviously, not to random other adults like PPs have had to deal with) luxuries they already have. I think what bothers me is that the "You have xyz material thing" is sometimes thrown at kids as a response to emotional/social problems that money and iPhones won't fix.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Library Dragon on February 14, 2013, 12:19:33 AM
OP the response by your cousin to your FB vent was rude. 

My husband is a Catholc Deacon (BG this means he's an ordained minister who hatches, matches, dispatches and everything in between). He does a lot of marital counseling where this attitude comes up.  His first response is that its not a competition and pain shouldn't be compared.  He then reminds them that we are called to love others as we love ourselves.  We cannot fully give ourselves if we are in pain. 

I take a more snarky approach with my library staff.  I tell them they are allowed to complain, they are not allowed to whine.  Sometimes we need to vent even if we cannot change things.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Raintree on February 14, 2013, 05:26:33 AM
I posted some random pet peeves on FB. It was supposed to be funny and most people took it that way. Someone posted something along the lines of, "You should cheer up and focus on the positive things in life instead of letting these things get to you." Made me wonder if I was exuding negativity, but since most commenters seemed to take it in the spirit it was intended, I think not.

It IS possible to share pet peeves in a humorous way and still be in a cheery, good mood!!
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 14, 2013, 06:05:52 AM
Raintree, I completely agree with you.  There are some people, however, who use FB to constantly vent, whine and complain (I am not saying the OP is one of them - I have no way of knowing!).  I still believe that posting an FB status is inviting commentary.  I don't personally comment on whiny or negative status updates (I tend to delete or hide them as friends) but I don't really grasp the idea that only "yes, you have a horrible situation!  wallow in it" comments are appropriate.  Like I said, I would not post the status or the comment, but I think once you post the status you can't really complain about the comment. If you want support from someone who will listen to your situation, get that in person, IMHO.  Posting a general vent as a status is not likely to result in 100% support of your perspective.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: LeveeWoman on February 14, 2013, 08:07:13 AM
Raintree, I completely agree with you.  There are some people, however, who use FB to constantly vent, whine and complain (I am not saying the OP is one of them - I have no way of knowing!).  I still believe that posting an FB status is inviting commentary.  I don't personally comment on whiny or negative status updates (I tend to delete or hide them as friends) but I don't really grasp the idea that only "yes, you have a horrible situation!  wallow in it" comments are appropriate.  Like I said, I would not post the status or the comment, but I think once you post the status you can't really complain about the comment. If you want support from someone who will listen to your situation, get that in person, IMHO.  Posting a general vent as a status is not likely to result in 100% support of your perspective.

Is that what she wants? Or, does she just not want someone to dismiss her concerns?
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Yvaine on February 14, 2013, 09:02:20 AM
I don't personally comment on whiny or negative status updates (I tend to delete or hide them as friends) but I don't really grasp the idea that only "yes, you have a horrible situation!  wallow in it" comments are appropriate. 

I don't see how "That stinks, I'm so sorry," which is a kind and compassionate response to all sorts of things, equates to "Wallow! Wallow, I say!" People are allowed to be bummed for a while when things go wrong. It doesn't mean they hate their life or they're miserable on the whole, it's just a natural human reaction to unpleasant things happening.

And yes, of course there are people who only ever post negatively and that's annoying, but I don't see any indication that the OP is doing that and it doesn't seem kind to assume she is.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Midge on February 14, 2013, 09:20:16 AM
I think my problem with what the OP's cousin posted is that it's the only thing she "said." If she had also written "I know how you feel," "That s**ks," "Sorry to hear that," or something along those lines, and THEN said "count your blessings," at least the OP wouldn't feel, rightly, "dismissed." Her upsettedness (hey, a new word!) would have been acknowledged.

Example: A good friend died earlier this week and it's affected me quite a bit. Now, am I feeling anywhere NEAR the grief his wife, kids, and parents are feeling? Heck no. But if I told someone that I lost a friend and was feeling down, I would hope the first and only words out of their mouth would NOT be: "At least it wasn't YOUR husband."
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 14, 2013, 09:34:32 AM
And yes, of course there are people who only ever post negatively and that's annoying, but I don't see any indication that the OP is doing that and it doesn't seem kind to assume she is.

Oh, agreed!  I should have been more clear - I was speaking in general in response to several posts that only certain responses are okay and not about the OP.  I didn't get the sense she is wallowing or generally whiny at all - I thought I said that upthread.  Sorry I wasn't clear!
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Aeris on February 14, 2013, 10:05:31 AM
Raintree, I completely agree with you.  There are some people, however, who use FB to constantly vent, whine and complain (I am not saying the OP is one of them - I have no way of knowing!).  I still believe that posting an FB status is inviting commentary.  I don't personally comment on whiny or negative status updates (I tend to delete or hide them as friends) but I don't really grasp the idea that only "yes, you have a horrible situation!  wallow in it" comments are appropriate.  Like I said, I would not post the status or the comment, but I think once you post the status you can't really complain about the comment. If you want support from someone who will listen to your situation, get that in person, IMHO.  Posting a general vent as a status is not likely to result in 100% support of your perspective.

While posting a status on facebook is inviting commentary, that does not mean that absolutely any and all comments are appropriate, polite, or kind. It's no different than an in person conversation - not every verbal response is appropriate either.

I've posted before that I'm more similar to you in some ways on the sympathy/encouragement spectrum. I can sometimes hit a dark wall where I need the people closest to me to help me focus on positive things to break the emotional downward spiral. However, there's a wide spectrum of approaches between *that* and something that comes across as "suck it up, buttercup, other people have it worse".  Similarly, there's a spectrum between expressing basic sympathy and going so overboard on validation that you're encouraging someone to wallow.

One serious problem is that the 'focus on the positives' message is very delicate, and tone and delivery make all the difference between whether it's going to land correctly or dismissively.

Commenting on an emotional issue on your second cousin's wall, whom you haven't seen in years, is probably NOT an appropriate place to try it. The likelihood of it reading as dismissive is objectively very high, particularly with the clumsy 'count your blessings' phrasing.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gen xer on February 14, 2013, 10:23:52 AM
Raintree, I completely agree with you.  There are some people, however, who use FB to constantly vent, whine and complain (I am not saying the OP is one of them - I have no way of knowing!).  I still believe that posting an FB status is inviting commentary.  I don't personally comment on whiny or negative status updates (I tend to delete or hide them as friends) but I don't really grasp the idea that only "yes, you have a horrible situation!  wallow in it" comments are appropriate.  Like I said, I would not post the status or the comment, but I think once you post the status you can't really complain about the comment. If you want support from someone who will listen to your situation, get that in person, IMHO.  Posting a general vent as a status is not likely to result in 100% support of your perspective.

The comment is rude-ish - maybe posted with good intentions - but still patronizing and belittling.  No argument here....but I do agree with TurtleDove that if you want support and empathy maybe it is best to get it in person.  I avoid the negative, venty comments on FB too - not because I think the poster isn't entitled to their feelings but because it can be awkward to have all that raw emotion out in public.  People make comments on FB knowing that others are going to see them so there is that showmanship element to it - that person telling you to count your blessings on FB wants everyone else to see how righteous and full of good advice they are.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: bansidhe on February 14, 2013, 01:17:59 PM
I posted some random pet peeves on FB. It was supposed to be funny and most people took it that way. Someone posted something along the lines of, "You should cheer up and focus on the positive things in life instead of letting these things get to you." Made me wonder if I was exuding negativity, but since most commenters seemed to take it in the spirit it was intended, I think not.

It IS possible to share pet peeves in a humorous way and still be in a cheery, good mood!!

Oh boy...the Positivity Police paid you a visit.  ::)  I don't know whether this applies to the person in the OP or not, but some folks seem to think that it's wrong to ever express any feeling that isn't 100% sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows and make it their life mission to correct others who express such feelings. Wry or sarcastic humor is either totally missed by these people or regarded as "negative."

Case in point: The person who runs Grumpy Cat's official Facebook page posted a status update asking people to quit posting messages asking kitty to be less negative. There are not enough eyeroll emoticons to deal with my feelings about this.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Tabby Uprising on February 14, 2013, 01:37:05 PM
I posted some random pet peeves on FB. It was supposed to be funny and most people took it that way. Someone posted something along the lines of, "You should cheer up and focus on the positive things in life instead of letting these things get to you." Made me wonder if I was exuding negativity, but since most commenters seemed to take it in the spirit it was intended, I think not.

It IS possible to share pet peeves in a humorous way and still be in a cheery, good mood!!

Oh boy...the Positivity Police paid you a visit.  ::) I don't know whether this applies to the person in the OP or not, but some folks seem to think that it's wrong to ever express any feeling that isn't 100% sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows and make it their life mission to correct others who express such feelings. Wry or sarcastic humor is either totally missed by these people or regarded as "negative."

Case in point: The person who runs Grumpy Cat's official Facebook page posted a status update asking people to quit posting messages asking kitty to be less negative. There are not enough eyeroll emoticons to deal with my feelings about this.

It reminds me of a song I learned when I was a child.  "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.  If you're mad and you know it stomp your feet.  If you're sad and you know it, say 'boo hoo'."  Something like that.  I took my 16 month old to a gathering where they sang this song, but replaced every "sad" and "mad" with "happy"!  Happy happy happy!  I thought it was so silly.  What, are kids going to be traumatized singing about being mad or sad?   :P

It's okay not to be happy all the time.  It's okay to be sad or mad or frustrated.  I don't like the idea that people have to incessantly give themselves pep talks, listen to pep talks or suppress their true emotions.  It makes me want to primal scream on their behalf  ;D    Of course, I know no one hear has suggested it isn't okay to be sad or frustrated, but it bears saying that sometimes a vent is just a vent.  Don't correct the vent, just let it be.  :)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 14, 2013, 01:46:06 PM
Of course, I know no one hear has suggested it isn't okay to be sad or frustrated, but it bears saying that sometimes a vent is just a vent.  Don't correct the vent, just let it be.  :)

This makes sense.  I would just add that I don't think it's particularly productive or attractive to vent on a public forum.  I agree we shouldn't supress our emotions, but I think it makes sense to use judgment in how and to whom we express them. 
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Yvaine on February 14, 2013, 02:11:33 PM
Of course, I know no one hear has suggested it isn't okay to be sad or frustrated, but it bears saying that sometimes a vent is just a vent.  Don't correct the vent, just let it be.  :)

This makes sense.  I would just add that I don't think it's particularly productive or attractive to vent on a public forum.  I agree we shouldn't supress our emotions, but I think it makes sense to use judgment in how and to whom we express them.

It's not always even a public forum, though. Many posts on FB are locked to a specifically chosen group of trusted friends and relatives. Sometimes a vent isn't even online at all, but confided in a close friend in person, and then the confid-ee still snipes back with this kind of dismissive comment. If we could only present our most carefully curated faces to our best friends, and could never do anything that might be perceived as "unattractive," our friendships would be a shallow thing indeed. A real friendship encompasses both the good times and the bad. If someone only talks about negative things, that's unbalanced--but so is suppressing every negative feeling and carefully only acting toothpaste-grin-happy all the time. People are complicated and so are close friendships.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 14, 2013, 02:28:30 PM
Amen to that one.  While most days I do try to handle my little annoyances myself and don't complain too much but if something's really bugging and/or worrying me I will mention it to my best friend, same with her.   And we both have good days and bad days, sometimes unfortunately we have had bad days simultaneously like the other day when she just had a rotten day at work and I came down with the stomach bug that was circulating through our family. :P

Those are no fun but yeah, life isn't always sunshine and butterflies and anyone who thinks it is is wearing rose-colored glasses.  I get rather annoyed with parents who seem to feel the need to protect their child from any negative feelings. No, it's not pleasant to see your child crying or hear it, but how in the world are they going to function in life later when mommy and daddy aren't around to protect them from anything that's not warm and fuzzy? ::)

On the other side of the token I also get annoyed with the Debbie Downers of the world who feel the need to find offense or negativity in every single little thing!
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TootsNYC on February 14, 2013, 02:34:05 PM
My youngest (9) and I do work at a food bank. I need for her to see that she does have advantages, and that not owning a DS or losing her iPod (in amongst all of the toys in her room) and being unable to find it will not "ruin her life" as she puts it.

In addition to listening to her and compassionately supporting her hopes, dreams and goals, I believe that part of my job is, in fact, teaching her to count her blessings.

I agree, though, that it isn't my job to help my friends count theirs, so I don't use those words with friends.

Actually, I think it *is* my job to help my friends recognize and draw strength from the good things in their lives. But there are competent ways to do it. And it's a touchy and difficult task.

This woman's Facebook response is NOT a competent way to do it.

Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Lynn2000 on February 14, 2013, 03:29:40 PM
It reminds me of a song I learned when I was a child.  "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.  If you're mad and you know it stomp your feet.  If you're sad and you know it, say 'boo hoo'."  Something like that.  I took my 16 month old to a gathering where they sang this song, but replaced every "sad" and "mad" with "happy"!  Happy happy happy!  I thought it was so silly.  What, are kids going to be traumatized singing about being mad or sad?   :P

Side note: I know this song also, but I've never heard it with anything but "happy" in it. Happy = clap your hands, happy = stomp your feet... I forget what the others are, obviously not happy = say boo-hoo, though. :) IME it's supposed to be a joyful song with an easy rhythm and physical actions to engage the audience, which generally consists of young children. Also IME it's a religious song. I'm actually quite impressed there's a version of it that encompasses other emotions, but I would've said that was new version! :)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: thedudeabides on February 14, 2013, 03:39:56 PM
It reminds me of a song I learned when I was a child.  "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.  If you're mad and you know it stomp your feet.  If you're sad and you know it, say 'boo hoo'."  Something like that.  I took my 16 month old to a gathering where they sang this song, but replaced every "sad" and "mad" with "happy"!  Happy happy happy!  I thought it was so silly.  What, are kids going to be traumatized singing about being mad or sad?   :P

Side note: I know this song also, but I've never heard it with anything but "happy" in it. Happy = clap your hands, happy = stomp your feet... I forget what the others are, obviously not happy = say boo-hoo, though. :) IME it's supposed to be a joyful song with an easy rhythm and physical actions to engage the audience, which generally consists of young children. Also IME it's a religious song. I'm actually quite impressed there's a version of it that encompasses other emotions, but I would've said that was new version! :)

That's interesting, because we did it the way Tabby Uprising described twenty-odd years ago when I was little.

As for the OP, some people just can't handle the idea that not everything in life is sunshine and kittens (although I've frequently found that when things are going poorly for THEM, it's suddenly okay to be unhappy).  I'd delete the comment this time and move on.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 14, 2013, 03:53:35 PM
As for the OP, some people just can't handle the idea that not everything in life is sunshine and kittens (although I've frequently found that when things are going poorly for THEM, it's suddenly okay to be unhappy).  I'd delete the comment this time and move on.

I would delete the comment and move on also.  As a sidenote, though, some people have had a whole lot of trauma and awfulness in their lives and yet they are happy because they have decided to be happy.  It's not that they believe life is all sunshine and kittens - they know it isn't.  It's that they have learned that being angry or upset doesn't change anything and only ruins the present moment.  I have been working on adopting this mindset for the past year and a half and while I don't have a 100% track record, I can tell you my daily life is far happier than it was when I was focused on how justified I was in my anger!
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gramma dishes on February 14, 2013, 03:57:54 PM
It reminds me of a song I learned when I was a child.  "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.  If you're mad and you know it stomp your feet.  If you're sad and you know it, say 'boo hoo'."  Something like that.  I took my 16 month old to a gathering where they sang this song, but replaced every "sad" and "mad" with "happy"!  Happy happy happy!  I thought it was so silly.  What, are kids going to be traumatized singing about being mad or sad?   :P

Side note: I know this song also, but I've never heard it with anything but "happy" in it. Happy = clap your hands, happy = stomp your feet... I forget what the others are, obviously not happy = say boo-hoo, though. :) IME it's supposed to be a joyful song with an easy rhythm and physical actions to engage the audience, which generally consists of young children. Also IME it's a religious song. I'm actually quite impressed there's a version of it that encompasses other emotions, but I would've said that was new version! :)

We sang this song when I was little in our (Methodist) Sunday School.  But as *thedudeabides* and Lynn say, it was all "happy".

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it then your heart will surely show it
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.  (clap, clap)

Repeated for stomp your feet, and anything else we could come up with.  But no range of emotions.  Only happy.  I guess Methodist children weren't allowed to be anything but happy.   ;D
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: thedudeabides on February 14, 2013, 04:00:07 PM
As for the OP, some people just can't handle the idea that not everything in life is sunshine and kittens (although I've frequently found that when things are going poorly for THEM, it's suddenly okay to be unhappy).  I'd delete the comment this time and move on.

I would delete the comment and move on also.  As a sidenote, though, some people have had a whole lot of trauma and awfulness in their lives and yet they are happy because they have decided to be happy.  It's not that they believe life is all sunshine and kittens - they know it isn't.  It's that they have learned that being angry or upset doesn't change anything and only ruins the present moment.  I have been working on adopting this mindset for the past year and a half and while I don't have a 100% track record, I can tell you my daily life is far happier than it was when I was focused on how justified I was in my anger!

That's good, but it has nothing to do with being so unable to contain yourself that you can't let other people release their frustrations without a condescending guilt trip.  Unless you're saying you have problems not doing what the person in the OP did?    ???
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: TurtleDove on February 14, 2013, 04:07:23 PM
That's good, but it has nothing to do with being so unable to contain yourself that you can't let other people release their frustrations without a condescending guilt trip.  Unless you're saying you have problems not doing what the person in the OP did?    ???

No, it is in response to the posters who say that comments of "count your blessings" are dismissing the validity of her pain.  I don't think that is always accurate.  I think sometimes people understand pain and are not invalidating it but hoping to help people by suggesting they focus on the good things.  I get that the OP didn't appreciate it and I have no idea the commenter's motivation.  Like I said, I would never do a facebook comment like the commenter did (or a vent for that matter like the OP), and I don't unsolicitedly offer advice.  But I often encourage people who ask me to do things similar to "count your blessings."  I am not invalidating their pain.  I am trying to provide them with a positive way of coping. 
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: bansidhe on February 14, 2013, 05:21:45 PM
We sang this song when I was little in our (Methodist) Sunday School.  But as *thedudeabides* and Lynn say, it was all "happy".

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it then your heart will surely show it
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.  (clap, clap)

Repeated for stomp your feet, and anything else we could come up with.  But no range of emotions.  Only happy.  I guess Methodist children weren't allowed to be anything but happy.   ;D

Same with Unitarian-Universalist children, apparently, as that's the version of the song I'm familiar with also.  :)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 14, 2013, 05:38:34 PM
We sang this song when I was little in our (Methodist) Sunday School.  But as *thedudeabides* and Lynn say, it was all "happy".

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... (clap, clap)
If you're happy and you know it then your heart will surely show it
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.  (clap, clap)

Repeated for stomp your feet, and anything else we could come up with.  But no range of emotions.  Only happy.  I guess Methodist children weren't allowed to be anything but happy.   ;D

Same with Unitarian-Universalist children, apparently, as that's the version of the song I'm familiar with also.  :)

Same with atheist rural kids...though I'm sure not all of my town was atheist, but that's how we learned it nonetheless.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on February 14, 2013, 06:00:33 PM
I learned it that way too, but in public schools so religion didn't play any part of it. :)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Dalek on February 14, 2013, 06:23:10 PM
I guess being a pastor means you make your church members feel better by being very hands on and involved. He/she is probably used to turning something negative or tragic into something positive. It may just be a force of habit.

However, people ( whether or not they're in ministry) need to understand that not everyone can turn off their feelings like robots. For some, FB is their only outlet. As long as they're not sympathy jacking someone else's status, the critical person should just block and ignore.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Tabby Uprising on February 14, 2013, 07:15:22 PM
I heard the happy/mad/sad version in preschool (no religious affiliation) in New England.  I rather like the rogue version  ;)
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gramma dishes on February 14, 2013, 08:00:02 PM
I heard the happy/mad/sad version in preschool (no religious affiliation) in New England.  I rather like the rogue version  ;)

Well, at least the 'rogue' version is a little more honest and acknowledges that people DO actually have feelings other than just
 "happy"!   :D  It sort of validates the children's real feelings.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Sharnita on February 14, 2013, 08:02:43 PM
I wouldn't love the idea of reinforcing foot stomping when a kid is angry.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: Veronica on February 14, 2013, 08:04:30 PM
I wouldn't love the idea of reinforcing foot stomping when a kid is angry.

What version is that?  The one I learned and the one on my nursery rhymes CD in my car for DS goes, "if you are happy and you know it stamp your feet."
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: gramma dishes on February 14, 2013, 08:14:47 PM

It reminds me of a song I learned when I was a child.  "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.  If you're mad and you know it stomp your feet.  If you're sad and you know it, say 'boo hoo'."  Something like that.  ...

It's okay not to be happy all the time.  It's okay to be sad or mad or frustrated.  I don't like the idea that people have to incessantly give themselves pep talks, listen to pep talks or suppress their true emotions.  It makes me want to primal scream on their behalf  ;D    Of course, I know no one hear has suggested it isn't okay to be sad or frustrated, but it bears saying that sometimes a vent is just a vent.  Don't correct the vent, just let it be.  :)

Veronica, I think she's referring to Tabby Uprising's comment.
Title: Re: Count your Blessings
Post by: citadelle on February 17, 2013, 04:59:33 PM
There are verses about sad, angry, tired, friendly, etc. the lyrics can be googled.