I hesitated to write this because of the "comparative suffering" thing.
Brene Brown talks about how humans engage in comparative suffering.
It's when you brush off your pain or someone else's because you don't see "their" or "your" suffering as valid enough compared to another person's suffering.
For example, someone complains about not feeling well, and someone else says, "Well, at least you're not Nancy; she's got a terrible disease to live with."
Or, "Kim, be thankful you didn't break your leg because then you'd be out for a couple of months. This is just a sprain."
Doing or saying that to others or ourselves invalidates our own suffering, no matter how 'big' or 'small' it is.
We are allowed to feel our emotions, my friends.
We don't have to validate them or push them away because they aren't as 'troublesome' as someone else's.
We don't have to compare our pain to others to be allowed to FEEL it.
Which brings me to this story.
Yesterday while running with my three dogs near the high school, a lady came out the gym doors and around the corner at the exact same time the dogs and I ran past.
We pummeled into each other, and I, along with the dogs, fell, toppled, and rolled onto the ground.
I immediately felt immense pain in my ankle and couldn't stand up. After about five minutes, I was able to stand, and the dogs and I hobbled a mile back to my car.
Now I know many of you are thinking, "This is not a big deal, Kim. It's an ankle sprain."
But for me, it is a big deal. I'm a very disciplined person in certain parts of my life. I do the exact same morning routine daily.
- 20 min meditation
- Protein shake, green juice, and pre-workout mix
- Gratitude journal and affirmation work
- Take a run.
- Start my day.
I always run 40 miles a week...always. Doesn't matter if my flight gets into New York at 1:00 a.m. and I have to speak at 7:00 a.m. I'm getting out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and going to get that run in.
Running is a big, foundational part of my life.
And when that routine goes astray, even for a day, I get wonky.
My brain has to have the exercise, or at least it thinks it does.
It's like a lifeline for me.
It's my mental and physical health, and I don't function well without it.
Yes, I know that seems narrow-minded and superficial, but remember...we are allowed to FEEL our emotions just as they are, and we don't have to smash them down just because someone else has it worse than us.
So here's my little Sunday reminder to you.
Allow yourself to feel all of your emotions...the good and the heavy ones.
If you don't allow yourself to feel the heavy ones, then they fester and grow, and as Brene says, "They invite shame."
And to paraphrase her further, "Then we begin to feel ashamed for feeling scared, sad, lonely, hurt, disappointed when we are fixated on the idea that others have it worse than us."
You are allowed to have your pain or suffering, no matter how big or small it appears to be. I hope you give yourself some grace and space to feel however you do today.
P.S. I've had school administrators messaging asking if I will re-open The Happy Academy, my 9-month well-being program for educators. It would be the perfect gift to teachers as they enter the mid-year and prepare for 2nd semester!
Let me know if you'd like to set up a time to chat about getting this for your teachers!