Why do we compare ourselves to others when we’re sick or having a bad day? When we hear about someone with a terrible illness, why do we put down our own problems as being trivial in comparison? Why do we refer to our troubles as “first world problems”?
I’ll readily admit that I’ve done (and do) all of the above. But lately I’ve been thinking…is that really helping anyone?
Sure, my health problems haven’t prohibited me from actively participating in life, but it does bear down on me on a daily basis and is something I have to take into consideration with every decision I make. So is it right for me to think (or for someone to tell me) that I shouldn’t get so hung up over it – because at least I don’t have X’s condition?
In that single thought I’m not only pitying and making assumptions on X’s life, but I’m also putting down my own. Just because X may face his/her own challenges, doesn’t mean that their life is worth pitying. And why should I be trivialising my own problems by saying they’re not as bad as someone elses? All that is going to do is make me feel worse about being upset and send out the message that my illnesses aren’t really worthy of attention or support. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t feel for other people, but we shouldn’t be doing it to make ourselves feel better about ourselves or dismiss our own problems.
So next time you’re having a bad day or hear about someone else’s troubles, try in not comparing problems. You’re problems are just as important and debilitating to you as someone else’s is to them. In these sorts of situations, I think it’s ok to just think about ourselves.