Please, please, please read this blog. I want to say so many things about the post, and the concept in general, but currently, my brain is articulated in these sentiments:
…understanding your emotional responses does not allow you to magically turn them off. At best, insight allows you to apply strategies to manipulate those responses in more favorable directions, and that still takes significant effort, which is FUCKING EXHAUSTING. When I am explaining that I’ve been having a tough time lately, part of what I am telling you is that I have been working really hard to keep my emotions/negative thoughts from completely incapacitating me, and I am fucking TIRED and it SUCKS.
So when someone hears that, and turns around and tells me “well at least you are able to understand/control what’s going on in your head”, it’s hard for me not to hear that as “well, be grateful that it isn’t worse!” Which, as I hope you know, is not a particularly helpful response to anyone experiencing hard things.
I don’t have a great way to sum this up, so I’m just going to say this: when someone tells you about something they are struggling with, suppress the urge to immediately go to giving advice, praising how they are handling it, or trying to help them see that it’s “not that bad”. They may need/want one or all of those things, eventually. But maybe don’t start there. Maybe just start by making them feel heard.
Or, to quote Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy, “Being aware of you crap and overcoming your crap are two very different things.”
It’s this gap- my primary Frustration Gap where I know what the problem/challenge/issue is, and I may very well also know the solution/resolution/approaches to take… and I don’t do it. Or it’s seeming to be ridiculously hard.
Awareness and articulation are steps 1 and 2. I want steps 3 and 4– and sometimes those remain elusive.
That’s my Frustration Gap. Where the extent to which I know something, or am aware of it, is greater than my ability to do what I would like to.