How many of you have come across a time when you have told yourself, whatever painful emotion/feeling situation you are in, could be much worse? How many of you have said, “I shouldn’t be complaining, other people deal with much more and I’m over here complaining about this?” I’m sure most of us have gone through that mental state of questioning whether we are overreacting or if our emotions/feelings are valid.
I think most of us go through this process because we want to think of something positive, we want to find something that will make us feel good. While stating how someone may be having a more difficult time compared to ourselves is understandable, how much becomes too much? When will it be okay to accept the pain we are going through is justifiable? Will our feelings only be valid when we are hurting more than someone else? I believe our feelings matter regardless what the scenario might be. While I can agree there are people who have endured more than I have, I think comparing my experience to someone else’s becomes pointless.
For example, when my dad passed away I was devastated. I never knew such pain was possible or that I would ever experience such pain. Through my grieving process, I thought to myself how lucky I was to have my dad around for my entire life because there are people who never got to experience the love of a dad. Hearing other people saying this didn’t help my case either. I started thinking whether I was overreacting and that I should be happy for the moments I’ve shared with my dad. Though, by going through that mental process, I started devaluing my pain.
While I was happy for the moment, I ended up unhappy for the most part after, until I accepted that my pain did matter and no one’s pain could match mine. Going through my acceptance took a while with the help of family and friends, but I was able to feel much better afterward. I felt better because I knew my pain did matter and it was natural to feel what I was feeling at the moment. I don’t think any of us can go through a painful experience and not compare the experience with someone else’s “more painful” experience. In a way, I think comparing comes natural because we try to find ways to make our selves feel good about our experience.
While there are people out there who have probably gone through more painful experiences than us, the comparison becomes pointless. Comparisons become pointless because the pains we each go through matter. Our pain matters because we are the ones going through the motions and only we can understand what we are feeling (not to say that people can’t relate to you, but I think we try to relate in order to let someone else know they aren’t alone). I believe accepting and acknowledging our painful emotions/feelings as our own is important in order to progress in a healthy manner.
The next time you find yourself going through a painful experience remember, your pain matters because you matter and you will overcome whatever comes your way.