Speaking Mindfully about Macular Degeneration
Last updated: December 2022
There are a lot of mistruths floating around about macular degeneration on social media, Facebook, various websites, and advertisements. We’ve all seen them, stating there is a miracle cure (there is no cure – YET) or instilling fear with lies about going completely blind.
We can’t always control the misinformation others post BUT we can, and must, take responsibility for what WE say AND do what we can to correct the untruths. We have complete control over the integrity of our own speech with 2 simple strategies – pause and think.
Pause and T.H.I.N.K. before you speak
Seems easy enough but amazing how often it’s not done! Before we say something that isn’t true or worse – is unkind – pausing before blurting out misinformation can make a world of difference to the person on the receiving end. Practicing this strategy reaps many benefits!
Once we pause, we need to ask ourselves these questions:
- T - Is it TRUE? Are our comments based on facts? Where did these “facts” come from?
H - Is it HELPFUL? Will what I say be helpful to others... Or harmful?
I - Am I the one who should say it? What are my INTENTIONS? What will be the IMPACT?
N - Is it NECESSARY? How really important is it to say?
K - Is it KIND? Probably the most important question of all – Better to be kind than right!
As you may have guessed, this formula for speaking mindfully can be used in many situations, not just with macular degeneration. A clear, personal example follows.
Not thinking leads to bad consequences
There are times we are on automatic with no filter, especially when around close friends or family. I recall when I didn’t take time to pause and T.H.I.N.K. before I blurted out an unkind truth to a close family member. I regret it to this day. However, I am grateful to have learned such an important lesson.
When I saw the tears well up in my sister’s eyes after I stated a hard truth, I instantly regretted my words but you can’t unring a bell. However, you can – and I did – learn from it and am now sharing it so others may not feel the heartache and sadness I feel when I was NOT thinking.
What I told my sister WAS true but it wasn’t at all helpful and certainly not my place to set the record straight. All it accomplished was pain and sorrow. It was neither necessary or kind. If the answer is “NO” any one of the T.H.I.N.K. questions, it does not need to be said, especially if it is unkind.
Applying the model to AMD
Talking about macular degeneration certainly applies. Over time, many of us have dealt with the emotional and physical challenges of losing our central vision. Others are still on the healing path of accepting their diagnoses.
Everyone is at different stages at different times and we all need to be sensitive to each other’s needs. What works for one may not work for another. Empathy and understanding are ALWAYS top priorities, both in speaking and listening.
You are at the right place
This website – maculardegeneration.net – uses the T.H.I.N.K. strategy well. What impressed me most was their kindness, compassion and understanding. May we all be as gentle and kind when we comment or post – Pause & THINK – it really does work!
Please share how speaking & thinking mindfully about macular degeneration has worked for you.
Do you have eye healthy recipes you like to make for the holidays?