I think we can all agree that 2020 has been rough for everyone in different ways.
For myself, I have found myself in this limbo where I’m teaching from home and feel so guilty talking about the difficulties that come with that, pregnancy, having to handle everything on the home front while Moe is flying, and everything else because the flipped side of the coin is that I am teaching from home while my co-workers are back in school and dealing with a whole other level of hard there. There are so many women who would kill to be uncomfortable, exhausted and 4 weeks from having a sweet baby and in the aviation industry, many women are scared and grieving because their husbands have lost their jobs altogether.
Oh the guilt. I was journaling on this a few days ago, trying to gain some clarity around it all and here’s the revelation I had.
Your reality doesn’t define you anymore than mine defines me. Our realities are based on past decisions we made. Decisions to or not to get married, decisions to or not to adopt, invest our money or spend it, pay off debt or buy another thing we think will make us happy off of Amazon. Choices to work for a certain company, go into a certain industry, etc.
Your reality also doesn’t dismiss the hard just because someone else seems to have it harder than you. Both realities can be hard. It’s not a competition on who has it worse. Both are hard and different. The last part of my pregnancy can be hard and I can also have empathy, sympathy and compassion for women going through the hardship of wishing so badly to be pregnant and being disappointed and heartbroken month after month when it doesn’t happen. I’ve been there as well. It can be hard for me to juggle 30 plates of my own while my husband is flying and it can be hard for those women who have their husbands home and not flying at all. We don’t have to choose. We don’t have to feel guilty because our hard is different than someone else’s.
The judgement we have for someone else as they talk about their hardship comes from our own ego of feeling like we have to have more sympathy than they do because our hard is harder. How selfish of us as human beings! The judgement we have for ourselves comes from a place of shame. We are shaming ourselves into believing we are horrible people for feeling a pain and a struggle that we shouldn’t be feeling when we do. There is no should/shouldn’t. It just is. It’s there. It’s teaching us something- gratitude for what we have, perseverance, to choose a different path. Each lesson is different for every person.
Above all, we need to let go of the shame and guilt- society gives us enough of that anyway. We need to check our ego when we start shaming our friends for going through a hardship that may be hard to them. Have compassion and empathy- it goes a lot farther than judgement and resentment. Again, not a competition. Lastly, we need to give ourselves grace. Our hardship is validated just as much as the next person’s even though it may look different.