Whenever something really shitty happens often amongst the first thing someone says to us is ‘It could be worse’ or ‘at least you’ve still got your health/family/something else that hasn’t gone to shit.” It’s supposed to be a comfort, it comes from a place of love. The idea is that it helps you to realise that everything isn’t as bad as it could be, you’re going to be fine. It’s a solid message and one that we need to hear, but not first thing.
When something bad happens we are allowed to feel bad about it. We’re allowed to feel the loss and we’re entitled to be upset. We do not need to feel guilty about feeling sorry for ourselves for a while when things don’t go our way. The fact that someone somewhere is going through worse doesn’t take away from our stuff. There is always going to be someone in a worse position than you, but you are allowed to be pissed off about what has happened and the consequences for you.
Imagine if you flipped this the other way round, if someone told you that you shouldn’t feel good about that great thing that happened because someone somewhere is better off than you, you’d tell them to bugger off. Some of us live in that space, but I’ve never had someone say it to me after a success.
Your right to feel emotions is not decided by where you are on a global scale.
You do however, need to pick yourself and dust yourself off at some point. It’s not helpful to wallow for too long and this is where reviewing all the great stuff in your life and feeling gratitude for it is really helpful. Remembering that you are in a really fortunate position can help you turn things around and get back on your feet ready to face another day.
Now we’ve acknowledged that we’re allowed to be pissed off when shitty things happen to us, lets remember that this also applies when the shit hits the fan for those around us. They are allowed to be pissed off too. We don’t have to jump straight in and try to make them feel better with well-meaning platitudes. Your opening pitch doesn’t have to be “oh, you’ve just lost your job? Well, at least you’ve still got nice shoes.” How about we start with “yep, that really sucks.” (or something less American) and take it from there.
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