To be honest, I am completely over feeling guilty about my emotions. For ages, there has been a ridiculous stigma attached to people being emotional. Men are told that they are acting like girls when they respond to certain situations with passion. Women are constantly asked if they “are on their period or something” when they are frustrated with situations that are, in fact, frustrating. There is an unrealistic expectation set on both sexes, and I feel like it has to stop, or at least chill out a little bit.
It’s a lose-lose situation. You get chastised for being too sensitive or alienated because you don’t experience enough emotion. Just because you don’t like watching animal reunion videos does not mean that you are some sort of heartless monster. On a greater level, not reciprocating attraction is not something that you control. You should not be shunned for your emotional responses to certain situations. It is unfair to ask someone to feel something that they cannot. Similarly, experiencing attraction to someone is not a bad thing, nor should you be ridiculed for experiencing the awesome feelings that liking someone awakens within the soul.
The issue begins when we start applying our own standards to other people in order to ridicule them or make them feel small. Why do we find it necessary to kick people when they are down? Perhaps our own struggles blind us to the struggles of others. It is so frustrating when someone tells you how to feel, especially when he or she brings up the fact that there is always someone who has it worse. Imagine being the one person on earth who truly has it the “worst.” If we enforced the policy of “don’t be upset because they have it worse” then there would be one single person who had the right to have a bad day.
I’m tired of feeling guilty for feeling too much or for not feeling enough. I’m tired of people ridiculing “first world problems”. I’m tired of having to justify my every move. I’m tired of watching other people justify their emotions too. Your feelings are always valid. If you’re having a bad day, have a bad day. Don’t let anyone tell you that you “don’t have it bad enough” or that all of your problems are of the “first world” variety. I’m not saying that you should wallow in anger or sadness, but to simply recognize that these emotions are a part of the human experience. Suppressing emotions does not help anyone. Tell people about your day, whether you failed that Chance paper and dropped your phone in a puddle or you rocked your Moodle post and got a free drink from @TheBeak. Talk to one another. Let it out.
I don’t want to write this editorial without offering a suggestion about how to change this social stigma. It is not productive to complain without also providing some sort of solution. I’m not saying that we should go around and yell and scream and cry at one another, but rather just try and be a little bit kinder to the people we bump into every day. If you know your friend is having a bad day, listen to them and let them know that their feelings are valid. If you see someone having a small stress cry in the PLC, let them have their moment. I think we can all try to be a little bit kinder to one another without descending into emotional madness.