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Theory of (Pain) Relativity

I feel like sh*t today. It’s the I feel like hopping on a bus and riding it far far away from anyone I know and love so that I can lie in a deep dark hole in the middle of nowhere to avoid facing or talking to or existing around anyone I know or love kind of sh*t today.

I feel like sh*t today, but not only that, I feel so debilitatingly guilty about feeling so bad. I don’t have any reason to feel the way that I do. I just came out of a fantastic weekend filled with my college graduation ceremony, an awesome afternoon spent at the Art-A-Whirl, and a night of crazy jamming and headbanging to JID’s greatest hits. Nothing bad has happened to me recently, and, in fact, quite the opposite of bad has happened to me, and yet I find myself silently wishing for something awful to occur. Maybe a side-swiping by a car or a run-in with a computer thief. I’d even take a minor inconvenience, anything to “justify” my all-consuming sh*t feeling.

One of my friends recently had a horrible fight with her boyfriend and another is dealing with a loved one’s persistent illness, and here I am feeling like sh*t and struggling to be a support to them. I don’t feel like I deserve to feel bad, especially when nothing like that has happened to me recently, and I constantly find myself discounting my experiences because others are objectively worse. I have so many loved ones that share this similar experience. Roommates, coworkers, friends, family members all feel guilty for feeling bad because they compare their misgivings to each others’.

But you know what? You don’t need to justify feeling like sh*t. We all feel this way at one time or another. We all have bad days, we all feel “off” sometimes, and we all have times where we feel like crawling into a deep dark hole and that is enough to justify those feelings.

The reality of it is that someone might always have it worse off than you, but that does NOT mean that you don’t deserve to feel bad!

Pain is subjective, relative, and experienced by everyone.

I’m not saying I want you to feel bad, I just want you to give yourself some compassion and understanding for when you do feel bad. Similarly, I hope this allows you to find some compassion for others experiencing a hard time that seems trivial in comparison to your own. Psychology reveals that these comparisons only serve to destroy our human connections, which we need to help us feel less like sh*t. Similarly, these comparisons can leave us feeling resentful, dismissive, and withdrawn, driving us away from our relationships and deeper into guilt-ridden sh*t.

Suprihmbé said it best when she wrote, “…the only way to find solidarity is to recognize and acknowledge our inherent differences.”

So with that in mind, all I have to say is this: I feel like sh*t today.

Author, Hanna Boleman

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