As a younger girl, my aunt always put this notion in my head that I was too sensitive and too emotional about things that mattered a lot to me at the time. It hurt as young kid knowing that what was a big deal to me – wasn’t as big a deal to those I looked up to. As I have grown up into the woman that I am today, I understand that a lot of it has to do with age. To a five-year-old, not getting the cereal they want can be catastrophic. To a sixteen-year-old, not having the money to buy a car is the worst case scenario. To a twenty-five year old, not being able to have children is the biggest burden in the world. The older we get, the more we are able to handle, and the larger our perspectives become. The problem is that we don’t respect the five-year-olds within ourselves and, at large, the perspectives of others.
The most devastating feelings I remember having throughout my life weren’t the situations themselves, but the reactions of others as I was going through them. You see, some people can hide their feelings extremely well; I cry when I see road kill. Trying to set aside how I feel just to avoid conflict with others has always made the situations broaden and deepen. I could never understand why others thought I was over-reacting to certain intense situations in my life. After speaking to several people, I understood that most of them fell into one of two categories:
1.) They hadn’t been through that particular situation.
2.) They had been through something much worse.
Then it finally happened. I was going out to lunch with a friend of mine one day – he was telling me about how upset he was that the girl he had been talking to turned out to be absolutely crazy (in his eyes). At that point, driving in my broken down stratus with him sitting in my passenger seat – I told him it wasn’t a big deal and to quit being sensitive. As soon as the word slipped from my mouth, I began to understand the years of torment I believed myself to have gone through. I questioned the judgement I had put on others for being insensitive to my feelings.
What I had taken away in that moment was the assumption that all people see life events in the same perspective. A released the part of myself that put labels on everyone who had written me off as being overly emotional.
To me, events like losing my grandma to a diabetic coma, my biological dad leaving me after just meeting him, and my parents getting divorced were the most tragic things that had happened in life. It took me a while to realize that other people may have had equally as traumatic experiences in different areas of their lives so they might not be able to empathize with me on the same level. We all have different perspectives on situations and I think that’s beautiful. Otherwise, who would tell us that everything is going to be okay.