Invalidating Your Struggle

Invalidating Your Struggles, by Mikayla Christiansen

Thoughts protrude my head yet I can't seem to write them down. Nostalgia is something that has been turn into fear, fear that I won't feel that amount of joy again, fear that I won't experience that love again. There is nothing that makes you feel less than when you feel like you are feeling feelings less. My mind has been blocked off by a barricade of anxiety. Self-doubt seeps into my every day conversation like it has place there. 

Joy. Where do I begin? I have felt an empty joy, a joy that does not fill and does not overwhelm. It's easy to assume that a person doesn't struggle with joy when you always see them smiling. It's easy to assume that person has it all together when you see them constantly showing off their life. 

I sat with two of my closest friends and shared the endless bowl of chips and salsa. We sat for three hours having a heartbreaking conversation. It breaks my heart, because we have never had one like that before. We shared our struggles. We shared our shame. We shared about anxiety, eating disorders, body confidence, depression, sickness, fear. It was something beautiful that happened over that tiny Mexican restaurant table. We shared our brokenness, and I recognize that that was not easy, but it surely was freeing. It was liberating for the three of us.

It's portrayed that it's not normal to be sad, it's not standard to think these things about ourselves. It's sad to me that I was never able to have that conversation because I feared talking about taboo things.

"When we enter into under the surface conversations, we enter a more intimate relationship with the human sitting across the table."

It is convicting to me, because I preach to people to live authentically. I have tried to create my own manipulated authenticity. How did we create that safe atmosphere?

It starts with one person.

It starts with one topic to spiral into a beautiful conversation. Don't ever underestimate the power of empathetic listening. See people for who they are and if you recognize something in a person, whether that is of beauty or of struggle, speak it out. 

We did not just talk about the struggle and left it there. We dug deep. We debunked the root . Have conversations that don't just scrape the surface but look at the root of things. I thought it was beautiful that all three of us share many of the same struggles yet we walk very different lives.

We may have different stories but we do have common struggles.

It is easy to dismiss your feelings when you look at someone else's circumstances. It is to beat ourselves up for feeling some way when someone "has it so much worse". All feelings are valid, because all take a toll.  

Don't invalidate yourself, because you feel as if someone else has a more valid reason to feel that way. 

Other people are hurting, but that is not a reason to shove your hurt under the table.

Here's my prompt: do something brave and uncover the mask that you are "good". Start a conversation with the intention to go deeper.