Why we must learn not to judge people for how they feel
We never know what might be going on for someone
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems nowadays mental health problems are on the rise and several organisations are trying to tackle this problem. It's clear from the number of advertisements on billboards and on TV that talking about our mental health is being expressed as a positive thing and can especially help us when we are feeling down. For this reason, I am going to discuss why it is crucial that we do not judge people for how they feel.
Dismissing someone's feelings can encourage isolation
If a person says how they feel and are told that they're overreacting or that they need to just relax, they may likely hold back when it comes to speaking about how they are feeling completely. This is due to their fear that they are bothering the people around them with their problems, so they no longer want to speak about them. From this, they can become really reserved from people or put on a brave face to mask how they are really feeling. Understandably, this is not helping a person to resolve their difficulties, because they shut themselves out once they have noticed that their feelings have been disregarded whenever they do try to talk about what is troubling them. On that note, this is why it is so crucial that we listen when someone tries to talk to us. Even if it seems like it's the smallest issue in the world from our personal point of view, it can feel like a big problem to the person facing it. Listening to how someone feels, is not going to cost us the world. Their feelings are their own and the least we can do is let them express them, without the extra worry that they will be judged or cut off.
It could lead to further personal problems
Yourmentalhealth.ie are trying to emphasise that talking about our problems can make a tremendous difference to how we feel. I definitely agree with this. Once we get something off our chest, we all feel better and everything appears that little bit easier. That being said, judging someone for what they feel or say, causes the problem to continue for a much longer period of time, because the person feels they have no one to turn to. The build up of negative emotions can have an impact on the person's overall wellbeing, as well as have a negative influence on different aspects of their life. Such that, they might struggle to sleep, concentrate or eat properly, which may eventually make work, school, college, social events and relationships much harder to deal with. Once our emotions are repressed within us, we feel trapped and think we have lost control of our life. This is why it's important to get to the root of why we are feeling a certain way. In my opinion, the deeper the problem is planted in us, the more chance it will grow. In other words, if the problem is left unsorted, it's going to go on and on, eventually provoking other problems.
Something that should be considered normal and reasonable is being swept under the bus
One thing that I've always questioned when it comes to feelings and mental health problems is, why does everyone not treat it the same way they treat physical health? As is in, why can't we all say "look, I'm under the weather today, I found it hard to get out of bed since I'm really not feeling too good". That is completely normal to me. We all need a day or more to recharge our batteries. The same way, we need to rest when we have a head cold or a tummy bug. Although, I'm confident that so many people would be worried sometimes (myself included) to tell their teacher, their parents, their employer, whoever it may be, that they're feeling unwell emotionally/mentally because we're all afraid of being judged or belittled for feeling a certain way. Yet, something I learned to ask myself is "why should we feel afraid to talk about our feelings and our mental health?" They are normal, they are a part of who we are. There is no good reason to not be entitled to speak openly about how we feel, and if we do not learn that it is perfectly acceptable to do this, then we're brushing aside something that is normal. We're failing to prove that it's okay to struggle and to fall down when life hits us too hard. A person's feelings are perhaps the most honest thing about them, don't beat them down for being truthful.
In saying all of this, judging someone for how they feel does not fix any problem no matter how big or small it is. If someone confides in us, we should feel happy that they put that trust in us, considering that speaking about how we feel can be a challenge at times. It's important to keep in mind that when we're convinced that our world is crashing down, we should take each day as it comes. We're allowed to feel. We're allowed to come undone and most importantly, we're allowed to be human.