I have walked through my share of very disappointing situations recently. One thing is for sure: the stuff I have been going through is NOTHING compared to what other people have gone through in their respective lives.
I’ve tried to maintain perspective and not really let myself get too down–because I know that my frustration is somewhat small.
One look on the news, you’ll see people dying of starvation, losing children, experiencing natural disasters, and suffering debilitating poor health with no reprieve.
I thought THAT was the only appropriate mindset to maintain while I waited for the stress and the pain to pass.
Unfortunately, I started sinking into a place of emotional breath holding. It felt like I had no air–all while trying to talk myself down with internal self-talk:
“It’s not even bad”
“You really don’t know the meaning of suffering”
“Just need to drive on–be thankful that it’s not worse.”
Nothing was helping. The pain and disappointment were there in spite of the head-knowledge that my circumstances are a relative cake-walk. (mmm…cake…yes, I tried cake. And no, it didn’t relieve the vice grip.)
Providentially, I came across a bit of enlightenment. Grief and joy alike are both relative. People consistently respond to someone’s grief-story with, “Oh, that’s nothing–you should hear what happened to my neighbor’s brother-in-law’s cousin.”
But no one would ever say to a high-schooler who just won first place at his swim meet, “Eh-maybe you are feeling happy, but it’s nothing compared to how Michael Phelps would have felt after winning 8 gold medals in Beijing!”
We don’t scale victories and celebrations on a who-has-had-it-better basis. So why are we so quick to rate their griefs? We can only measure our disappointments against our own experience; therefore, we have a right to grieve our losses.
Roll with it. It’s hard, and personal. I didn’t even expect to react the way I did. I had no idea I would feel this terrible, and with that came an awkward internal angst that was hard to reconcile.
It is important to validate your heartache adequately. Share it with your loved ones, allow them to support you where you need it. (But don’t hold it against them if it seems like they don’t get it–remember, all grief is relative.)
The world is full of horrible experiences….this is just the condition of humanity. Everything is broken and dying, no one’s exempt. Without the hope that salvation offers us, it is scary to think that this world is the best it will ever be.
Take heart! Dig into the truth–one of my dear friends shared this Proverb, and it reminded me to pour through the scriptures for “breath.”
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations soothe my soul.
Psalm 94:19 ESV