When someone is seeking comfort and advice, they are often told, “others have it worse” or “that’s not that bad, last year I…” These types of replies teach us to repress our feelings, because someone else is worse off. When I would cry over a scratch after falling, my grandmother would shoot back, “There are children who would be thrilled to run around and scrape a knee.” Of course, this information didn’t help, how could have someone else’s pain make me feel less? However, over the years I have learned that my feelings are valid, and that that someone else’s situation does not make mine less difficult than it actually is.
I often felt guilty crying over things like stress. Afterall, my parents are together, my family lives comfortably, and I’m healthy, my life is seemingly perfect. What do I have to be upset about? Truthfully, I do live a very easy life and have very little to worry about, but the little bumps were so much more significant. For example, when I was 9, my hamster died; that was my first real encounter with death. I had plans to go bowling with my friends that day. When they picked me up, I walked out to the car with tears streaming down my face. One of my friends gave her condolences, and I got sick to my stomach. Her grandfather, whom she was close with, had died a week earlier. I was overcome with guilt and immediately attempted to pull myself together. I then refrained from crying about the loss of my hamster because I felt like I did not deserve to be upset. In reality, my friend’s grandfather passing should not have affected my feelings towards my hamster’s death. While in reality, a hamster passing is very different to a grandparent, the grief may be comparable. From then on I lived my life by comparison, feeling unworthy of expressing how I felt.
One of the setbacks of lacking tragedies, much less life experiences, is that you have very little to learn or grow from. Consequently, many realizations, or values are formed from maturity or age. My belief statement was formed from not from a single experience, but conclusion from many. Slowly, I started to reject the idea that my feelings were inferior to others, and eventually, I realized that my feelings are valid. Feelings are always correct because they are an initial reaction. Therefore, anything that you are feeling can it be “incorrect” because it’s what you believe at your core.