When you were younger and didn’t finish your meal, at one point or another, you probably heard “there are children starving in Aca” as rationale for why you should clean your plate. Similarly, I’m sure there was some time that you told your end you were tired and they responded with some version of “Oh my God, me too, you don’t even know how bad I slept.”
We live among people in the world, so it’s not surprising that we try to relate and have relationships with one another through shared emotions and experiences. But, have you noticed how hard it is to just have an individual, isolated feeling – one that is not had in relation to something or someone else. It’s like you can’t be full if that Acan kid is hungry. And you might be tired, but not by comparison to that end with the sucky mattress. Or, you might feel pretty that morning when you look in the mirror – then disgusting that evening after you spot some celeb in front of you in line at Starbucks looking flawless. As much as we are individuals and have our own unique lives and emotions, we can’t escape comparison.
A little bit of that is healthy, for sure. It’s good sometimes to take a pause, mid-rant about some trivial frustration in your life (like “ahhh it’s so annoying that every radio station is playing Miley Cyrus right now”) and realize that there are greater evils and frustrations in the world to be had. Those kinds of comparisons ground you. But sometimes, instead, you run the risk of trivializing your own legitimate feelings because someone or something else makes you feel like you should. That’s when you need to stop. Stop immediately! Recognize that whining about silly stuff is just that. But, also be able to recognize that your feelings carry just as much weight as anyone else that happens to be over-sharing next to you. Know that your emotion or experience holds value on it’s own and does not need validation by comparison to Rob at work or Sally at cocktail hour. Just be wise enough to note that not every experience needs to be shared and whined about, particularly on social media (“ugh they messed up my tuna sandwich” = trivial).