Pain Does Not Discredit Pain

Hi, my name is Nicole, and I’m a feminist. Shocking, I know. Especially with my Mormon/Catholic upbringing. As such, I was excited about the Women’s March. All over America, women stood up and said that we will fight for equality. We will fight to keep the rights we already won. Lots of women and men that I have a ton of respect for showed up and stood up.

But as so often happens with feminism, there was a backlash. Specifically, there was a backlash from women who were not involved in the movement. With all due respect, and without naming any names, let me give you the gist of their concerns.

How dare we, as American women who are for the most part safe, well cared for and free, complain about our situation? There are women in other countries who know the real meaning of oppression. These women would be grateful for our lives. We should be grateful for our lives.

I am grateful for my life. I also support global feminism that aims to better the lives of our sisters all around the world. That doesn’t mean that the struggles we face as American women are lessened.

We have a right to be angry, but I want to go beyond that. We have an obligation to fight for total equality and total control of our own bodies. We owe that to our daughters. I will not settle for more freedom than some women have. I demand total equality and freedom. I’m no willing to compromise on this topic.

Of course, this issue is not just found in Feminism. It’s everywhere.

“Don’t complain about your job, there are lots of people who would love to have it.”

Well, maybe you should strive to get a job you like more, and let one of those people have the one you have now.

“Don’t complain about seasonal depression. Lots of people are in far worse conditions.”

That doesn’t make you feel better on the days your down.

“Don’t complain about your living space. There are homeless and hungry people on the street.”

But your home is not a source of joy for you, and you should try to do better for yourself and your family if you can.

I’m sure you can think of more examples.

Please, I’m begging you not to do this to yourself. If you’re feeling pain, feel it. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have a right to feel that because someone else has it worse. Someone always has it worse. Your emotions are never wrong. Sometimes your response to those emotions can be, that’s true. But the emotions themselves are honest and you should listen to them.

At the same time, don’t do the opposite to other people. Don’t belittle their pain because you think yours is worse. It might feel worse, but that’s because you don’t know what theirs feels like.

So if you feel like something in your life is an injustice, unfair or just wrong, do what you can to fix it. Fix whatever is causing you pain in your life. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you should suck it up because someone has it worse.

Someone always has it worse. That does not discredit my pain. It only inspires me to help us both.

When in your life has someone made you feel guilty for feeling pain?

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