We all do it.
When things go wrong, we have a bad day, or bad stuff happens in our lives, we minimize our problems by saying things like:
“It’s no big deal.”
“Other people have it WAY worse than me.”
“I have no right to complain about my ‘little’ problems.”
Have you ever said something like this before?
Sure, you aren’t a starving child. You’re not homeless. Your entire family didn’t die in a tragic accident (I hope).
But still, it doesn’t mean you should minimize your problems and negative feelings.
When we minimize our problems, we’re telling ourselves that we aren’t important enough. We’re saying, “Stop whining, put your head down, and just move on with it! You’ll get over it.” We bury our feelings deep in the pits of our stomachs and put on a fake smile. We hope that nobody will notice because we’d hate for other people to find out that we’re upset about our “little” problems.
Unfortunately, buried feelings always find a way to bubble up to the surface. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But they will come back. Another “little” problem will hit us. And then another. We’ll keep pushing all our negative feelings down, trying to convince ourselves that “it’s no big deal.” But in the end, we can never fully let go.
Today, I want to encourage you to stop doing this.
If you find yourself minimizing your problems and negative feelings, try this instead:
Acknowledge how you’re feeling.
Instead of pushing your negative feeling down to the pit of your stomach, first admit to yourself that, “Yes, I am feeling sad/frustrated/angry/scared.” When a close friend or family member asks you, “How are you doing today?” acknowledge to them how you’re really feeling.
Once you acknowledge that your problems and feelings ARE important, accepting them becomes easier. It’s OK to feel sad/frustrated/angry/scared. Yes, other people have it worse than you. But for a second, who cares about anyone else—you’re all that matters. Accept your feelings for what they are because you deserve it.
I challenge you to think about a problem you’re having right now. Do you find yourself minimizing it? Do you think you have no right to feel sad/frustrated/angry/scared because you compare your “little” problems to the “bigger” problems of others?
Remember, you ARE important and your feelings DO matter. When we stop minimizing our problems we’ll all end up in a much healthier place.