Low mood - I'm really not ungrateful
The difference between empathy and sympathy can be identified in many ways, often we hear "Well at least..." this is not empathy, it could be sympathy, they are three commonly used words when trying to offer comfort.
During the months of October to February we have many grey and rainy days, for some they are a serious deliverer of low mood. No matter how wealthy, how beautiful, how fabulous a house you live in, it can be very difficult to shake off until hopefully the spring sunshine arrives and the clocks go forward. You may hear the words "well at least you have a job/lovely home/healthy children/no financial worries etc"
It is good at times to sit back and remind ourselves of all we have to be grateful for but sometimes it's just not that simple and goes deeper, being grateful is not enough and reminding us can make us feel worse.
At times like these, we need empathy, "What does it feel like in your grey day? What colour would you prefer it to be?"
To have somebody share your thoughts and feelings in your grey day, perhaps walk along beside you to the shade it may become or sitting in the greyness with you, sharing the feeling can be enough.
"Please don't tell me that at least I can go shopping or cook a nice meal or go for a walk, I don't want to, i'm having a grey day/week/year. I want empathy not sympathy"
Most people mean well, they just feel helpless because they don't know what to say to make you feel better and try to offer sympathy. A trained counsellor offers empathy.
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About Beverley Brough
Qualified integrative counsellor.