Your Pain Matters

Disappointment is an underrated negative feeling. By that I mean, it does not get the same kind of attention as grief, loss, or pain would. But in many ways it is equally as painful or at least it comes close.

This year I have been through a lot of disappointment. I kept telling myself: "You don't need to be this upset, you have a good life. Things could be much worse. Other people have it much worse than you do." On the surface that doesn't seem like a bad thing to tell yourself but the more I thought about it the more I realized how ridiculous that sounds.

Just because our issues and hurts are not the same as someone else's does not mean that they don't exist. Feeling lonely in 21st century America is the same as feeling lonely in another place or time period. Just because your surroundings are more advanced does not discount the pain of that emotion. If you are lonely, you are lonely. Period. No matter where you are or what is around you.

There is an odd habit that a lot of us have to say things like, "There are kids starving in Africa, you have nothing to complain about." Admittedly, we do tend to complain far too much about very small problems, but to be very blunt: What does Africa have to do with your personal problems?

I know, I know, that sounds terrible. I am not at all trying to say that those who may be starving are not important. To the contrary my heart goes out to them. I wish I could help, really I do. And we can do things to help them. But we also need to help those around us who are suffering from depression, anorexia, bullying, abuse, the list goes on.

And we need to take care of ourselves. How can we be a light and a help to others if we are not healthy or happy ourselves? This may sound very selfish, but to neglect your own body and soul while trying to

lift others up is doing no one any favors. I'm not saying to go do whatever you want to, but we do need to make sure that we are practicing what we preach. Strike that, I need to make sure that I am practicing what I am preaching.

I have learned this year that saying "I am disappointed" is not wrong. It is how I feel. No one can take that away from me. Just because my problems are not the same as another's does not mean that they are not hurting me or causing disruption. I care about other people's problems too, that's called empathy. But mine still exist, and they still hurt.

Saying something like, "Your problems aren't as big as these problems." is stupid. No one said anything about those problems. Your pain matters, because you feel it even if nobody else does. It's still there. How about we stop telling each other that it doesn't matter or doesn't exist. We may not feel someone's pain, so it's harder to see it, but that in no way means they don't feel that pain.

If a kid scrapes their knee and it begins to bleed everyone can empathize because it is visible pain. If someone is struggling with anxiety, that's an internal pain. We may not be able to see the root of that pain, because it comes from an invisible source, but guess what, it's still hurting that person.

Today would have been the day we returned from Greece to Franklin had we still been over there. And it makes me sad to think about all of the things we missed. I was devastated by that loss of opportunity and experience. I'm tired of hearing people say, "But Jackson is OK! What are you upset about?" Yes, Jackson is great, but that's a different story. Please don't try to excuse this separate issue with something different. If I say I am disappointed that stands alone as a statement aside from Jackson and everything else.

My Dad says, "Greece will always be there." and he is right. I'm sure I'll end up back there again, this is not the end of the world, but I feel a sort of emptiness right now thinking about the things that never were. On a positive note, I got to explore some of Colorado, which was gorgeous, and though I don't see it yet, I know this all came about for a reason.

All of that to say, we are humans. Pain and hardship is inevitable, but if we choose to lift one another up in our sufferings instead of discounting each other's  pain, we can go much farther. And the sun always rises after the night is over.


2 thoughts on “Your Pain Matters

  1. I agree with all of this. Something I often think about is that it seems, in a way, as if we are not allowed to feel pain. Especially as Americans, we all seem to have a “let’s have fun and party” kind of attitude, all the time. We never feel like we can slow down and feel in a deeper way. I’ve realized that sadness and pain and melancholy are just as much a part of life as happiness. There’s always good times and there’s always bad times. We shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling pain. The flip side is that we shouldn’t feel bad about feeling happy and joyful, but I don’t think that’s much of a common problem, at least in my experience. Thanks for this post. ❤


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