Sometimes I get sad, or angry, or hurt or even depressed. I have a good life full of people I care about. I am healthy and have a career that I don’t hate. I have opportunities that make me excited and challenge me. Yes, overall, life is pretty darn good.
But, like everybody else, once in a while things happen that get me down. I’m not talking about wallowing around in self pity. I’m just talking about experiencing emotions. And I’m allowed to experience them, good or bad. We all are. And if I happen to share these emotions with you the last thing I want you to do is try and talk me out of them. I don’t want you to tell me I should be thankful it wasn’t worse or that so and so down the street is going though something harder. That is not helpful. Because, here is the thing. I know this. I am an empathetic, compassionate person who cares about others and the world I live in. But someone else’s hurt or pain doesn’t make mine go away. And not giving me permission to feel bad doesn’t make me a better person. In fact, experiencing disappointment, heart ache and pain makes me a better person. It not only helps me to appreciate the things I do have and the good times but it allows me to relate to others who have or are going through their own sorrow.
And, if you don’t know me, I mean really know me, it’s not your place to tell me that I don’t understand how a certain person or group of people feel. I could be one of “those” people. I could have been bullied or been a bully. I might be gay or bisexual. I could have been overweight or anorexic. I could have been a teen mom or twice divorced. You haven’t even walked a block in my shoes let alone a mile. So please don’t tell me how I should feel. I’m glad that you feel compassion for others that you think have been oppressed or marginalized but you don’t know that I haven’t experienced the exact same thing.
We all come from different places. We all have different stories and experiences that make us who we are. Every thing we feel or have every felt is real and important, if only to us. But you know what? That’s enough. It’s enough that it was real to me or real to you. Caring about myself doesn’t mean I care less about others.