I’d often seen posts like this on Instagram or Facebook…
Your feelings are valid, they said. How stupid, I thought. Of course your feelings are valid, why would anyone say they weren’t? Why would someone say that your feelings weren’t valid / credible / legitimate? Why would someone think that they knew how you should feel, better than you know how you should feel?! I have no idea, frankly, but it turns out that people do!
I was told recently that I shouldn’t be upset by something that had upset me. They thought it shouldn’t have upset me. Hmm, the problem with that thinking is that I was already hurt. My feelings had been hurt and someone was telling me that that wasn’t valid. My feelings weren’t valid to them. That pissed me off a bit. Whether you think someone should or shouldn’t be upset, the only thing that matters is if they are upset. If feelings have been hurt, if someone has made you feel shitty about yourself then it’s done. They could retract what they said or did, but the fact is that the damage has been done. What they cannot do is then tell you that you shouldn’t be upset by it. Unless they have a time machine and can go back and undo ‘the thing’, whatever it may be, then telling someone they shouldn’t feel a certain way about something is pretty pointless. Not to mention dismissive of your emotions.
The same applies for every emotion; happiness, sadness, guilt, etc. Someone can think that you’re silly for feeling that way, but they should respect that that is the way you’re feeling. I really didn’t think it was something that needed saying but apparently it is. Your feelings are valid. Your emotions are valid. In the words of Rachel Bloom, everybody should be able to feel their feelings! (Look up Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix, she’s a genius). Nobody has the right to tell you what to feel. If something upsets you then be upset, that’s totally fine. If it makes you scared, happy, uncomfortable, sad or any other feeling then you go right ahead and damn well FEEL that feeling. Even if people think that you’re overreacting, or attention seeking, or whatever, then let them think that because each to their own (that’s a polite way of saying stuff them) and you have the right to your own emotions.
I’m all ‘who would do that’ but I’m know I’m guilty of doing it – telling someone not to feel something, or dismissing their feelings. My sister usually cries when she has her hair cut, even when it looks gorgeous. I don’t know if she’s just really atached to her hair or something. But instead of telling her she’s being silly and it looks fine, like I usually do, I should try and find a better way to word it that appreciates the fact that, even though it really does look nice, she’s upset about it at that moment. Note to self, work on this.
Here is a bunch of stuff that reaffirms the whole ‘your feelings are valid’ thing, turns out I did need to hear it –
So you go ahead and feel those feelings, as big and scary or small and happy or medium sized and sad as they are. When you’re feeling crappy feelings and stressing / panicking / feeling like a little rain cloud has decided to live over your head, the last thing you need is someone (anyone) telling you that your feelings aren’t valid and you shouldn’t be feeling them. Yes it’s good to challenege negative thoughts, feelings and emotions, but acting like they don’t matter or aren’t happening won’t get us anywhere. They’re yours to feel and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise x