You’re hurting. You’re still hurting.
You haven’t quite gotten over all the things that have happened to you that still hang over your head like a terrible omen. You’re fine some days, but most of the time, you feel like you’re battling against a darker unidentifiable force somewhere deep inside and it’s evident as you feel a tightness in your chest.
You think you should have moved on by now and on good days, you do feel like you have moved on. You say, “I’m not going to let the past define my today,” and you’re satisfied. You think you can feel better just by saying positive affirmations. And they do make you feel a little better. Sometimes.
But the pain is still there. If you feel deeply and think it through, you know you’re not really okay. It’s something you’re tired of and you want to heal so badly, but you don’t know if moving on is even possible.
You feel traumatized from all the wrong paths you took, all the setbacks you’ve experienced, all the hurtful words from people you thought you could depend on, and the crippling fear that you’re never going to make up for all the ways that you’ve fallen short. You’re restless, even when you’re dead tired. You don’t know how you can face the day. You fake a smile here and there, but it never reaches your eyes. You’re still afraid. You’re still worried. You’re still sad.
You confide in some people. You write about it. You’re being honest about your anxiety and depression because pretending that you have no pain at all is worse for your mental health than just letting it all out.
Some people are supportive. And you’re grateful for them.
But somehow, there are people who roll their eyes and say, “Just get over it.”
These people dismiss your pain as a “first world problem.” They say they’ve overcome even more difficult circumstances than you and they’re quick to point out that there are billions of people around the world who lack all the resources you have and that you should be thankful and not bother complaining. They tell you to grow up and not coddle yourself with your petty feelings. They say you’re overreacting and that your pain is less valid than other people’s pain. They tell stories of so-and-so and how that person had it even worse than you and is doing so incredibly well today. They say that toughening up is the only solution and they don’t care if you have to bully yourself to do it.
You feel guilty for experiencing pain. You think that because your pain is labeled as trivial and self-indulgent nonsense, you don’t matter. The guilt somehow tricks you into thinking that you should be doing great and you’d better stop feeling sorry for yourself. It repeats the words of all the people who think your pain is just an excuse to throw a pity party.
But they’re wrong. It’s insensitive of them to compare your pain to other people’s. It’s downright cruel of them to expect you to be fine just because your life doesn’t seem as bad as other people’s on the surface. They have no right to belittle your pain. They have no right to say that you’re just looking for attention. It’s terribly rude of them to call you immature for taking so long to recover. You shouldn’t be mocked just because you’re feeling pain in a way that’s incomparable to someone else’s.
You’re allowed to feel what you feel. Don’t let anyone trivialize whatever it is you’re going through because your pain is valid and your experiences aren’t less significant than someone else’s. You’re allowed to slow down and take as much time as you need to heal because it’s impossible to rush the healing process to the point where you’re completely healed the next day.
Because feeling pain is not a fierce competition to see who’s had it worse and healing isn’t a race to see who’s the toughest. There isn’t a specific measuring system that invalidates the level of trauma someone went through. That cutoff doesn’t exist. All pain is valid and everyone deals with it in different ways. Your story is unique. And the way you heal may not meet someone’s expectations, but that doesn’t mean you should torture yourself over it.
Only you can identify what causes you to suffer. Only you can feel the intensity of the pain within. Only you can heal when you truly feel ready. Only you realize that healing takes time and effort. No one else can assume or judge anything about what they can’t feel or understand.
They may tear you down and crush you with overwhelming guilt, but only you have the power to rise and build yourself up again.
Because you matter.