Don’t invalidate other people’s feelings.
You may not agree with them. They may have a completely different memory or perspective on a shared experience than you. You may even KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt, with irrefutable proof that they are remembering things wrong. That’s ok.
Don’t invalidate their feelings.
Don’t tell them how to feel. And when they voice their feelings out loud, don’t correct them saying, “That’s not how you feel. You actually feel this way.”
If they tell you that they’re hurt by you or because of something you did, regardless of whether or not you actually did it, you can be kind and say, “I’m sorry you’re hurting and that I played a part in that.”
Some people will blame you for everything and consistently tell you you’ve hurt them or that you’re an asshole. If that’s the case, look deep inside, really self-evaluate, ask someone who will be honest with you if you’re really a jerk. If you’re not a jerk and you’re tired of apologizing for things that never happened, you don’t have to have a relationship with that person.
Don’t invalidate their feelings. Because if you do, then you really will be an asshole.
Why am I writing this on Thanksgiving?
Because a meme I saw on Instagram reminded me why I choose not to spend time with my parents anymore. Do I miss them? Of course I do. But I can’t be around them. Because I can’t share myself with them. There are a lot of reasons for that but a big one is that I’ve spent much of my life having my feelings invalidated, belittled, and gaslighted. I learned to become two different people. The one my parents knew and the one everyone else knew.
I know I’m not alone in this. This is a common tale. That doesn’t stop it from hurting.
So don’t be an asshole. Don’t invalidate people’s feelings. That’s my Thanksgiving PSA.
And have a Happy Thanksgiving. 🦃 Or don’t.