When did we become conduits of putting someone’s problems down or ‘pftting’ them away? You and I have done it haven’t we? Or at the very least you’ve certainly heard someone do it. You know you hear someone’s problems and you think ‘pfft that’s nothing. What’s wrong with you? That’s a first world problem.’
Or you’ve been on the receiving end of the comment. You’ve bared your soul. Opened your heart up and given the person the gift of letting them in, to have them rip up the wrapping paper and scoff at the gift. They haven’t appreciated that it took effort for you to let them in. That you’d covered up your feelings with the emotional wrapping paper to protect yourself and now you just feel vulnerable and unappreciated.
Yep. Been there.
I have to say I’m sick to death of people putting others down. Just because someone’s problems may not appear to be those of the third word such as hunger and sex trafficking, doesn’t mean that that problem are any less significant to that person.
Plus underlying the so called ‘first world problem’ is an attachment to something or a need.
You know what I am talking about?
You’ve shared the story about not getting that promotion at work or not meeting a target but when all the layers are peeled back you have this need to be seen and liked.
Perhaps you want to feel safe + nurtured.
Loved + held.
Does it make it any less important because it’s wrapped up in the bravado of a title or a safe place like a gym. (You know because that gym makes you feel secure, healthy and more yourself).
We as the sisterhood need to stop putting people down by saying they have a ‘first world problem.’ If you strip it back there’s always more to the story. If you’re the one who has said this comment flippantly don’t expect them to share further with you because you’ll find they’ll no longer find you that safe person any more.
And if you are the person on the receiving end of the ‘first world problem’ comment then start embracing how you feel when they’ve said that comment. How did you feel?
Frustrated? Angry? Pissed off?
Let them know. Don’t say it in a round about way. I want you to really feel into the emotions instead of protecting your truth. ‘I feel frustrated when you said that. I feel hurt because my job is very important to me and not getting that promotion made me feel unseen.’
According to Brene Brown (renowned shame researcher), shame resilience is built when stories of shame are told.
So I’m going to share my story from this week. I tossed up about sharing it. I wanted to hold back. Not say anything, protect myself. You may even read the story and go ‘whatever, it’s a first world problem.’ You can kindly go and find another blog to read where someone isn’t being so transparent about their life.
Since I went through significant trauma (as seen in my ‘about me’ story), I’m very much about safe people and safe places. For me, one of those safe places has been a gym I have been attending for 7 years. It’s been a place where I’ve cried with ladies when I’ve struggled with infertility, laughed when I’ve forgotten clean underwear after I’ve had a shower at the gym and had sauna deep and meaningfuls (and not so meaningfuls).
This week I decided that I needed to swap gyms to the one 5 mins down the road because as much as I loved this gym it was taking me 30 mins to get there and 30 mins back. Plus add in workout and shower time and there’s a good chunk of my morning gone. Also Flynn would often be asleep in the morning and I would miss out on a work out altogether because I couldn’t make it to the crèche hours in time.
I was told that I had a first world problem when I have a loving husband at home.
Now let’s unpack that. I’ve had clinical anxiety and depression in the past and some of that has even been triggered by some recent events. My gym has been my safe place full of people who make me feel safe. Just because I don’t talk about that side of it does not mean my ‘problem’ is any less significant than someone else’s problem.
I am also me. I am not just a house wife or a mum, coach or teacher. I am me. A child of God. I don’t need others to validate my worthiness, nor does my day necessarily get any better because I have certain people in it.
Problems don’t go away just because I have awesome people in my life.
And first world problems are important to the people who are going through them.
Let’s release that phrase ‘first world problem.’ It’s not cool and I want us to change that.
We’re a sisterhood.
We go through pain, however that may look.
Sometimes all you want is for someone to listen am I right?
When was the last time you heard that you had a ‘first world problem?’
Did you laugh it off and think yeah that’s silly?
Or did you think ‘Hey punk. This is how I feel, quit telling me how much worse your situation is!’
It’s not nice to not feel seen and heard.
Right now I’m going to say this prayer for you girls and perhaps you can pray it over someone else:
May my sisters feel held, loved and safe. I commit <insert name>, to you and release them to you in full surrender. May she know that her problems matter because she is a child of God’s. May she have a peace wash over her as she acknowledges that it is ok to feel frustrated, sad, hurt and angry. May my dear sister have the wisdom to stand up for herself in situations where she has been made to feel ashamed. Make her a conduit of love and not fear.
Comment below how you have felt when someone has dismissed your story. Remember Brene Brown said shame resilience is built when we own our stories. Let’s own our stories today. If you’d love help standing up for yourself in situations where someone has made you feel like your story doesn’t matter, I’d love to help. Get on a call with me now:firstname.lastname@example.org. If you loved the post please share using the buttons below.
P.S A portion of my coaching wage goes towards various charities that support causes such as human trafficking. I acknowledge all problems and love to help wherever I can.