According to Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
I’m not going to pretend to know anything about Buddhism and its teachings. Far from it. But lately, and especially because I have been unwell and isolated (except for being with my partner), I’ve started to contemplate what my truths are and how other people’s truths affect me.
Let me explain.
I know who I am and what I believe in–I have faith. I know my likes, my dislikes, and what upsets me and what makes me happy. I know my sexuality. I know who I am through my own thought processes and experiences. Through my love. These are my truths and only I can experience and deal with them.
The thing is, they will be completely different to what other people’s truths are. Every one of us have their own path they must travel to understand and ofttimes overcome or embrace their truths. We are all valid. Our experiences are all our own. How we treat ourselves and others because of our truths is up to us.
A lot of people don’t seem to understand this, especially lately (it seems). They try and erase other people’s truths (even identity) by demanding their experiences are ‘better’ or more ‘important’ than anyone else’s. They’re usually insecure/jealous people who do this. Or they could be people who think what they’re doing is ‘right’ according to their own truths, but in fact are not. These people then try and erase your experience to validate their own.
I call all of these people – from the jealous to the self-righteous – emotional gatekeepers, as they try and deny you access to your own self through their words (and sometimes actions). They make you question yourself. Or worse, make you think who you are/what you’ve experienced isn’t valid.
For example, they’re the kind of people who will say: “I had X and it didn’t hurt/worry/concern me, so why are you hurt/worried/concerned?” or to take that further: “I have a gay/POC/disabled friend and their life experiences have been good. Your life is good too because things are better for minorities now.” and then the ultimate: “I hear you suffer from depression/anxiety, but you look fine to me. What are you complaining about?”
Denying someone else their truths, even passively, isn’t good. Words are weapons and can be wielded cruelly. As I’m sure a lot of people do, especially behind the anonymity veil of the internet. But the thing is, because I’ve come to recognise myself and my own truths, I’ve now also come to recognise the types of people who try and emotional gate keep me in all their forms. How do I deal with it? Easy? I stay true to myself.
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