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It Is Not a Competition

Have you ever been in a situation where someone invalidates your #feelings because they went through something similar and responded differently? Well, I have witnessed this type of situation. Recently I was conducting a group in an inpatient facility in the adolescent unit. I had a girl who was discussing her #trauma related to her #relationship with her mother. Another group member informed her that she should be grateful she still had a mother because her mother died. I took this opportunity to explain how we are not in a competition regarding our emotions, situations, or traumas. We all have a right to feel, express, and experience our own situations our own way regardless of how similar or how differently other people handle their situation. I racked my brain around where this behavior could have originated from and it dawned on me, well at least in my experience. Growing up I was told things like suck it up, you will get over it, I have gone through worse, or why are you crying it’s not even that bad. I was being conditioned by #family members, bullies, and friends to not express my true feelings due to others having it worse than me or being able to handle a similar situation “better”. I came across the following myth about emotion stating, “if others don’t approve of my feelings, I obviously shouldn’t feel the way I do” (Linehan, 2015). Have you ever repressed an emotion due to disapproval from others? I urge you to challenge the statement above and be mindful of yourself and others. We are allowed to experience and express our feelings any way we choose. It is not a competition.

Gabrielle Galvan, LPC-Associate

Supervised by Aimee Campbell, LPC-S

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