A lot of folx don’t know this about me, but I’m actually a ray of fucking sunshine. I’m, sometimes frustratingly so, a bright-sider. A silver lining kind of gal. I’m always searching for the good that comes from any situation.
In order to cope with awful scenarios and truths about life, I’ve made a lifelong habit of finding the best possible thing to come out of anything bad. And then, once I’ve found it I cling to that one shiny item of goodness for dear life.
One of the things I’m having to let go of right now is that. That impulse to look at the sunny side of the street and glorify it. Bright-siding everything is making it hard for me to process my grief. So instead of trying to talk myself out of my feelings with that one shiny happy thought I’m working to let myself feel how I feel and process it.
And as I work on my own shit in an attempt to process my feelings around this mess our world is currently in (you know, with the global pandemic of Novel Coronavirus putting most folx on house arrest) I’m noticing frustrating trends in the behavior of others.
Yes. Yes I am criticizing others in an attempt to… I don’t know… make myself feel better? Protect my loved ones? Pass the time?
But so many people are clinging to the close cousin of “bright-siding” which is the need to put things in perspective instead of feeling their feelings or allowing others to do so.
I can’t pretend that I’ve never done it. A friend complains about something small (to me) that seems to be blowing up their entire life while I sit in the midst of something life altering. Like a divorce. A job search that feels like it’s going nowhere. My father’s battle with cancer. Mental health issues. The loss of my beloved old man cat.
Sometimes it can be hard to hear someone else share that they’re struggling without asking them to evaluate what you’re going through. What someone you love is going through. Without trying to put their feelings in check for them. To put them in a box that you can appropriately label as not really a big deal by comparison. I get that. I hear you. I’ve totally been there. So I know how much one sometimes needs to do it.
So I’m not asking you not to bright-side for yourself. Or saying that you shouldn’t put things in perspective for yourself. I’m not asking you not to feel your feelings. Your feelings, they’re just as valid as everyone else’s. More so for you, because they’re yours.
I’m just saying… what if, for right now, we just don’t impose that on others. What if we don’t ask others to put things in perspective as they share their truth. As they open up about their grief or their struggle. What if we just say “I see you” or “I hear you” or “Thank you for sharing” or maybe if it’s the best we can do say nothing at all. Let’s just give everyone the space they need to deal with this colossal cluster fuck we all find ourselves in the midst of in their own way.
And then later when the world starts not making sense in a way we’re all sort of accustomed to, then we can bright-side the shit out of stuff. Or ask everyone to put their feelings in perspective.
Just, wait a tick.