You had a bad day. You’re beat up. Your boss gave you the “what for.” You were hurt. You were let down. No one came to your defense. You’re sick. You’re broke. Your dog ate your cat. Your kid ate your dog. Your house got hit by a meteor, twice.
You get a phone call (after they turn your service back on after your identity was stolen) and it’s your mom. You tell her everything that happened to you and she lovingly comforts you. She joins you in your horrific state of shock and despair. You shake your head as you tell her, “It’s ok mom, others have it worse.”
Stop saying that! Stop it. Just stop it! Is it true? Most likely. So what? How does that really help? Let me tell you, it doesn’t. Here’s what it does. It denies your pain. It tells you that your pain doesn’t really matter. It is illogical. Think about it this way. What if it was physical pain? Imagine getting bit by a raccoon on your ankle. As the blood oozes and the infection begins right away you exclaim, “Well, others have it worse. Imagine if it was a rhinoceros. My whole leg would be gone. This isn’t as bad as that.” I ask you at that point…would the raccoon bite still hurt? Would the infection still burn and start killing flesh? Yes. That’s exactly what happens with emotional hurts as well.
I’m saddened that you have most likely been told that (others have it worse) many times throughout your life. You may have been told to sacrifice your pain for others who suffer in greater fashion. I’m sorry that you haven’t had anyone (or many people certainly) to come alongside you and just let you grieve and then comfort you. I’m sorry that this seems so foreign and even a bit weird, uncomfortable at least. I’m sorry that you don’t see the need to feel your pain (and have it comforted) so that it can go away and NOT rear its ugly head time and again. I’m sorry that you maybe don’t even feel like you deserve or are worthy of someone’s comfort.
Now, I’m not talking to you very few folks out there who die a thousand deaths with each time someone doesn’t open the door for you. I’m not talking to the person who has a disease of the day. I’m not talking to the person driving a Mercedes who talks about how tight money is. I’m not talking to the person who is upset that she can’t fit into a size 2 anymore. I’m not talking to the person who tells everyone how everything is always bad.
Actually I am. You see, the reason why those people above do those things is BECAUSE they’ve never had anyone give them true comfort. They are trying to “steal’ it. They are manipulating their surroundings to give them what the so desperately crave…and yet will never get. When you do that, it doesn’t satiate your needs. You feel hollow and have an even greater needs…to no avail.
Stop saying others have it worse. Stop implying that your pain doesn’t matter. Stop burying your pain in your gut or brain, hoping that it goes away. It won’t. It will just come back cloaked as something else, making future pains even worse.
One way that you can start is to be there for others. Join them in their pain and help them grieve (even on the smallest of scales). Create a culture of comfort that promotes healthy healing for everyone…little by little. “I’ve tried that.” you say, “…and no one was ever there for me in return.” Well, I’m really sad about that too. Keep trying, keep loving, keep listening. It will help more than you could imagine.