Less Advice, More Empathy

Less Advice, More Empathy

A few weeks ago I was excited to attend my second session of a therapeutic yoga class. The hour-long relaxation focuses on breathing, stretching and meditation to help calm the inflammation and anxiety that accompanies autoimmune conditions.

When I arrived another gal about my age was getting her mat set up and I decided to make small talk.

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I joked about the extra padding I needed for my joints as I uncurled my super thick mat. Then I asked if she’d been to this class before.

She explained she’d been coming for a few weeks and that it was helpful for her rheumatoid arthritis. Ohhh! I was excited to meet another woman with RA and toss back and forth ideas for managing this unwelcome chronic condition.

After learning we both enjoy the class, I explained that I’m working with diet and exercise to manage my symptoms. I went on about the Autoimmune Protocol, how long I’ve done yoga and what improvements I’ve seen.

I’m always happy to share how much of an impact you can make on your health with a natural approach.

Class started and we each did our thing for an hour.

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As we were preparing to leave the yoga studio, she stopped to chat with the instructor. I listened and joined in as I put my shoes on and got ready to leave.

Then my heart sunk. I felt horrible. She has just been diagnosed a few months earlier and was still in the shocked staged. I could tell she clung to every word from her rheumatologist and hadn’t yet broken through the confusion of this new aspect of her life.

I felt bad for talking about how good I feel now and how everything is manageable when she’s just starting the journey and feeling like total crap. On top of that, she’s a new mother and wife, trying to juggle it all.

Note to self: Everyone is at a different stage in their health journey. Don’t assume that people want your advice or to know what works for you. Listen more. What this gal needed was people to empathize, not offer even more approaches, techniques and advice.

Until next time,
Choose healthy!
Angela

PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!

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