Don't Invalidate My Feelings Because Everything Is Relative

Don't Invalidate My Feelings Because Everything Is Relative

My 18 years is all I have for perspective. And that doesn't make my experiences invalid.
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At girls' night, conversation goes all over the place. We talk about everything and anything, from classes to future hopes and dream to relationships to love to each other; everything and anything. Girls' nights are incredibly therapeutic. It's when you're able to sit and just talk with your girls about the things on your mind, get validation for those thoughts because they too have had them, get encouragement and reassurance for dealing with problems.

But at our last girls' night, a theme kept coming up of, "But of course, I don't know what that really feels like so it's stupid to say..."

I don't know what that really feels like.

What is that even supposed to mean? Girls' night isn't the only place I've heard this either; older people have always told me, especially when I'm either complaining or basking, that, "You ain't seen nothing yet. You don't know what it's like." Their point is that I can't make any valid judgments about the things I'm experiencing because I haven't experienced anything yet in life.

Oh, so you mean to say that the past 18 years of my life didn't exist? I spent them in a black hole devoid of any purpose or meaning?

Okay, okay, I know that's not what they're saying. They're saying that with their experience in life, which is much longer than mine, they've seen what my problems are like relative to their own, relative to the world, relative to years beyond what I've experienced.

They're putting my experiences into perspective. Which is entirely valid. From their perspective, I haven't seen anything of the world yet, because they've been alive for so much longer and have seen so much more.

But for me, my 18 years is all I have for perspective. And that doesn't make my experiences invalid. It does not. Because life is relative, and everything I've felt or experienced up until this point is entirely real.

Let me put it in this context: at girls' night, conversation came around somehow to soul mates. A friend said, "Of course I'm not going to say that we're soul mates, because I'm just 18, but..." and I cut her off right there. Everything in life is relative. If at that moment what you feel for another person is the strongest thing you've felt in your 18 years, then that person is your soul mate.

Can someone better come along later in life? Of course! But for now, that's the "best" person you've met in your life, and relative to your own life, that's saying something. What if you died at age 20? That person who was the closest thing to a soul mate at age 18 then becomes your soulmate-level person, because you died at age 20 and everything you experienced up until then is all you have as a frame of reference for life.

If the vacation you just went on this past summer was the best vacation of your life, you're not going to say, "but there are so many other possible vacations out there, I can't say that this is the best vacation ever." You're going to say, "This is the best vacation I've been on so far." That could change in the next few years, but the fact that it could change doesn't invalidate the way you feel about it now. Because life is relative.

Every moment in life is always subject to change. Any opinion you develop can always be changed. That puts a temporary time stamp on almost everything in life, with an unidentified expiration date, but that's okay! You never know what the future is going to look like, you don't know what the next few moments of your life are even going to look like. That means it's okay to make judgments today based on what you're experiencing, as long as you recognize they can and should be able to change.

Your experiences are entirely valid. Entirely. At every stage in life. It doesn't give you a free pass to act melodramatic and compare your life to Shakespearean tragedies every two seconds, but it does give you the pass to accept that the extremes of your life are relative to the extremes of another's. Every feeling you have is valid. So let yourself feel it.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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College Is NOT The Place To Be A Perfectionist, In Fact, It's Nearly Impossible

Accept it and move on.

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Life is hard for a perfectionist, and it only gets harder if it keeps itself up.

There is such little room for a perfectionist to mess up, and college is full of mess ups. That's why no one should expect themselves to keep entertaining the thought of perfection past high school. You can always chase it and never reach it, or you can work as hard as you can and get exactly where you want to be.

I was a perfectionist my entire life.

People always criticized me for it and said it would come back to bite me later. Of course, I never believed them because it worked out in my favor. I was getting where I needed to be and all the self-discipline is what I assumed got me there. Fast-forwarding to the present, they were right. It did come back to bite me. Actually, it is biting me.

I was setting myself up for failure all that time and I ignored it. I was only after perfection up until college because it wasn't that hard to obtain. I didn't have to study and I had time for my friends. But then things got harder out of nowhere and I was not prepared at all to shift the standards I had for myself.

As a perfectionist, I constantly compared myself to other people and made sure I was doing better than the next guy, or at least just as well. That didn't work for long. I stopped competing with others because I learned that no one is worth beating if they aren't even chasing the same goal. And that helped me learn to quit competing against myself, too, because we're on the same team.

Freshman year of college, I almost pulled it off. The perfectionist in me nearly won. Then I started reasoning with myself and I figured out I had limits to what I could handle and I stopped pushing myself past them.

There are sacrifices that have to be made in reaching success.

College is like the triangle you can only pick two things from. On it might be grades, free time, and work, and you have to give up free time to have a job and good grades. A perfectionist will try so hard to get all three, and they may be able to at first. But it catches up with you.

Then there are other times where you're lucky to get one piece of the triangle. It's a game of going back and forth and testing patience in the pursuit of greatness.

I may end up with an "A" in a class because I only studied for that one exam, and in return, I might fail a quiz that same week. It would have bothered me to not evenly distribute my time and to not do perfectly on all of it, but it's actually OK. And the job that may take up way too much of my time will look really good on my resume and the time I didn't have to enjoy myself won't matter later.

And as bad as they seem at one particular moment, sacrifices are worth it in the end. Some things just carry more weight than others and the further I've gotten, the more I've figured it out. And I just try to remember that when I reach the point where I've gotten exactly where I wanted to be, no one is going to ever know what I had to give up to get there. And there's even a chance I won't remember either.

As long as I'm actually trying as hard as I can and I learn from every hiccup and mistake, things will work out the way they should.

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