Our Feelings are Valid

April 1, 2020

Why, as a society, do we try to make everything a competition? Every time somebody mentions that they’re sad about something, there is always somebody invalidating their feelings by pointing out that other people have it worse. For instance, if somebody’s grandma died and somebody else were to say, “Well, I have it worse, my whole family died. We see this all the time.  

I apparently can’t and shouldn’t be depressed since I have such a good life, and there are people that don’t have a loving family like I do. I can’t be proud of myself for eating like a normal human being for 4 consecutive days because I was never hospitalized for malnutrition. I always feel bad when I deny myself food because there are people who don’t have as much access to food as I do, and it feels like I’m taking my privilege for granted.   

This mindset we’ve all been put in has led to us downplaying our emotions, our achievements, our problems and our hinderances. We don’t even notice it, but if we’d pay attention, we would hear how people say, I know it’s not that bad but…” or “It’s not that big of an achievement but…” all the time. I literally said it today. It’s like we can’t be proud of ourselves, or we can’t be sorry for ourselves. But we should be. We need to be.  

Humans are changing and evolving all the time and we are allowed to be proud of ourselves, and we’re allowed to be upset at setbacks or challenges. We’re entitled to all of our own feelings and nobody should be allowed to invalidate that. We need to feel our own feelings so we can learn to be compassionate and empathetic with other people.  

It was really hard for me when my grandmother died in a helicopter crash last year because it’s the first family death I’ve ever really had to deal with, and it was completely unexpected. I can’t tell you how many times I was told that I shouldn’t be upset because I only knew her for five years and she lived six hours away. But the fact of the matter is, I still think about her every day, and I break down on occasion. Nobody should be allowed to tell me that I shouldn’t.  

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