If you knew everyone else was having the exact same shitty feelings with the exact same frequency as you, would they bother you as much?
Self-judgment in relation to social acceptance is my brain’s default. When my brain is on idle, it likes to sing “California Dreamin’” and tell me I’m an outcast who will never belong anywhere. I don't believe the latter thought anymore, but I still need to remind my brain of that at least once a day.
I’ve realised recently that in the past a lot of my relationship to my feelings had to do with that thought. Like it wasn't that I was sad that bothered me as much as the fact that I thought I was sad because there is something wrong with me, and hence that no one else was sad. Basically the context for my bad feelings was a judgment that I was having them because I sucked, unlike other people.
So now I’ve started to ask myself the question: if I knew everyone else was feeling this way, would I find these feelings so intolerable? The answer almost always is NO.
And the amazing fact is, I DO know that. Everyone experiences sadness, loneliness, heartbreak, and joy. Shitty feelings are intrinsic to the human condition. As the saying goes, even Beyoncé got cheated on.
When you see your feelings, even your worst, most hated feelings, as something that means you are part of this whole thing called being human, it changes the pain from something that isolates you to something that connects you. Feeling like crap becomes something that automatically links you to others, in a big unbroken chain of people who, because they are people, struggle and grieve and hurt and feel like total shit sometimes.
So next time you are feeling awful, you might try asking yourself the question I started with: if you knew everyone else was having the exact same feelings with the exact same frequency as you, would they bother you as much? If not, what evidence can you find that other people often feel the same way as you do in this moment?