“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”
“Just keep swimming,” is my favorite line from the Disney-Pixar movie Finding Nemo. And when Dory said it, it felt inspiring. But when I hear things like “Move on already,” “Get over it you’ll be fine,” which kind of means the same as “Just keep swimming,” I can’t help but feel discouraged. Those words feel less than inspiring and make me feel as if there is something wrong with my emotions. Is there is something wrong with how I process things? Really, it feels like there’s just something wrong with me.
What I wish more people could understand is that emotions are unpredictable. I cannot control how I feel about certain situations or people. Most times I can’t even comprehend why I feel a certain way. My emotions just sort of happen.
And more often than not, changing my emotions isn’t as easy as just going to the gym to get in better shape. My emotions don’t have an off button, I can’t just fix them with a good workout, and I can’t just ignore them. I can’t stop my brain from reliving a traumatic experience or letting go of someone. The smallest things remind me of them, and my brain diverts automatically to thinking about them.
The hardest part about life is learning to love yourself.
I understand if it gets tiring hearing me talk about the same thing, or cry about the same person, but I am working on learning how to love myself, and this is extremely difficult to do. However, just because you’ve learned to love yourself, doesn’t mean that something can’t happen to bring you back to square one. Loving yourself is a lifelong process, and most definitely not an exponential upward growth. I have days where I feel like I’m at a wonderful place, happy with who I am. And the next day I might feel awful, even embarrassed of who I am. My journey of self-love is like a heart murmur. Sporadic, but still there.
But the bottom line is that no one has the right to tell me to move on or how to feel. Telling me to “Move on” or “Get over it” hurts more than anyone will ever know. It comes across as insensitive to me, and it makes me feel as if my feelings don’t matter, that you’ve done me a favor just by listening. I feel as if my emotions are being dismissed, so let me be sensitive and over-emotional, and let me figure out what’s best for me. Please don’t tell me that I need to just move on. Healing is a process that is different for every person in the world. I know that I’m not a mess, I know that there is nothing wrong with me, and I know that I don’t need anyone’s permission to feel, because guess what, I never asked.
Featured image via Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash