It's OK to be a mess, as you see fit

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 9:25 PM | comments: 0

One of the hardest things for me as a parent is to remember that the things that cause your child tears really are the worst things ever for them. That's why the old cliche thing we used to hear about eating your dinner because kids are starving in Africa was a pretty pointless thing to say. We had no context at that age. And boy, layer on autism in that equation, that introduces all kinds of challenges. The point is, your kid's reality is what's real for them.

I'm often astounded at the way that adults treat each other, in the context of our individual realities. I'm not debating whether or not something is objective fact or not (don't even get me started), but rather that our lives can be difficult, and everyone has something. I'm not sure why people are so certain that anyone does not have something. Sure, it's human nature to measure people up and draw some judgmental conclusions, but it doesn't make it OK. I feel like everyone is broken in some way, and to various degrees. Even if someone is by every socioeconomic measurement "privileged," it hardly means that their life is free of pain.

What's worse is this horrible and toxic call-out culture in social media. People really love those virtual high-fives and likes when they tear someone down for not being empathetic or woke enough. I'm not sure why anyone thinks they're changing minds, but they seem to feed off of their righteous tear-downs. As it is, social media representations of people are at best heavily filtered, and at worse completely fictional. You don't know the person on the other side of the screen. Just back off when someone decides to share a little pain or anxiety. You're not the score keeper or inventory master for all of the karma in the universe.

You're going to be feeling a lot of anxiety, anger, sadness and God knows what else the next few months. You may even feel bad that you feel bad, but you need to stop that nonsense right now. Every therapist will tell you that it's inappropriate to measure your pain against someone else's. Therapists will also tell you to avoid relationships with people who attempt to invalidate your feelings, so don't spoil that relationship with yourself. What you feel is as real as it can be, and measuring it against someone else's feelings will not enable you to process them.

It's OK to be a mess. Express it as you will. You don't have to feel bad about it.


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