I love some inspirational quotes. I have them saved on my phone, posted on my Instagram stories, highlighted in books, and shared in group texts. I am a firm believer in lifting others up. Being a parent is hard. I mean, even being a person is hard. We can all use some inspiration and motivation when we are feeling down.
Your feelings don’t need defending.
While I like a nice Pinterest-worthy quote, I could do without those that tell me to feel a certain way.
“Too blessed to be stressed.”
“It could be worse.”
“You will get over it.”
“Think happy thoughts.”
And of course the classic, “Everything happens for a reason.”
I often find myself having to justify why I feel a certain way. I would think, “Why are you upset? Far worse things have happened to you,” or, “If you think you have it bad, try walking in someone else’s shoes.” Thanks to a great therapist and a soft-hearted husband, I learn that there is not always rhyme or reason to feelings. They just are. What’s even better–they are not mutually exclusive.
I can feel grateful for my husband while also feeling frustrated that we didn’t agree on who was cooking dinner. I can feel angry that my child won’t listen to my instruction and also relieved that their little brains are maturing as they form their own opinions. I can feel excited that I have a new job and terrified that I will be bad at it.
I am not an advocate of continual, nonproductive whining. But I am a fan of letting someone feel heard, seen, and in turn healed and loved.
So, let’s stop.
Let’s stop assuming everyone is in the same boat. In fact, let’s just not assume anything. I learned the hard way that it is always better to ask than to assume. You never know what someone might be dealing with below the surface.
Let’s stop the “toughen up, buttercup” stance and meet one another with more safe spaces for vulnerability and lending a helping hand. May we seek to understand rather than to be understood. You are not an expert in someone else’s life (most likely).
Let’s stop justifying our own feelings and convincing ourselves we should or need to feel a certain way. We are often our own worst enemies and can be hardest on ourselves. Confide in a close friend. Vent to a family member who is a great listener. Find people and processes that bring peace.