The Validity of Emotions: Understanding the Harm in Policing the Feelings of Others. | by SINK OR SWIM | Apr, 2024

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In our society, there exists a pervasive misconception that individuals have the right to police the emotions of others. Phrases like “Cheer up, it’s not that bad” or “You have no reason to be sad when there are people who have it worse than you” are often used to offer comfort or perspective. However, these statements reflect a flawed and harmful mindset that undermines the validity of someone’s emotions and dismisses their struggles. The notion that one cannot be sad because others have it worse is akin to saying one cannot be happy because others have it better.

Emotions are intricate and deeply personal experiences that vary from individual to individual. People can feel and express their emotions without fear of judgment or comparison. When we invalidate someone’s sadness by pointing out that others have it worse, we are effectively silencing their pain and denying them the opportunity to process and heal. It is crucial to recognize that emotions are not a competition, and the presence of someone else’s more tremendous suffering does not diminish the authenticity of another person’s feelings.

The act of comparing someone’s sadness to another person’s suffering is not only unhelpful but also damaging. It establishes a hierarchy of pain and suffering, where only those who…

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