Comparing "bads" post Cutler

Why I’m done Comparing My “Bad” to Yours

Featured photo is the boys waiving to their dad in the hospital for a pneumonia bacterial infection during COVID-19 as visitors weren’t allowed inside the hospital. 
There are cliche quotes such as “The Struggle is Real”, “I’m on the struggle bus”, or “The Struggle of the Juggle” that we all throw out there from time to time. And they certainly apply more than ever during 2020. But honestly, most are quick to throw out cliches about struggling, but not able to admit outside of the jokes that they are actually struggling.  I think this happens because of the comparison trap, the fear of struggling over too little, when others have it worse.
Let me stop you right now and tell you these two nuggets:


I know they say, “Don’t be quick to complain”, but being the opposite and never complaining isn’t healthy either.  However, so many of us find ourselves diminishing our own struggles because someone has it worse.  While perspective is utterly and completely vital for empathy and self-health, it was never meant to minimize our own pain, our own personal struggle.
This year is hard.  You have it hard. Your neighbor has it hard.  Healthcare providers have it hard. We all do.  When we hear someone say they are having a rough day, it’s not helpful to reply with “Well at least you don’t have it as hard as so and so.”  A more helpful answer, is “Yes, your feelings are real. This is hard.  What can I do to help?” 

I’ve found that throughout my infertility journey as well as the journey of having a disabled husband, others weren’t coming to me with their struggles because they thought it would offend me since I was going through something very hard.  When my friends started admitting this to me, I told them that I absolutely wanted them to come to me as a friend.  I told them that just because what I was going through was hard, it didn’t mean what they were going through wasn’t! It helped them to open up to me more.

See, you can play the ‘who has it worse’ game….until (sadly) it’s too hard to even fathom some terrible circumstances. And knowing how bad people are suffering in the world IS a good technique in order to stay grounded, figure out how to make a difference and not be ignorant.  However, whatever you feel, is okay to feel. 

If your heart is in an honest and sincere place, then you shouldn’t have to worry about what people will make of your pain, and if they aren’t sympathetic, then maybe they are not worth mingling with.

Taking a step to admit that what you are going through is hard is a critical first step in eventually helping others go through a similar battle and maybe, just maybe this was the point of your pain in the first place.   

Believe me, I believe a healthy dose of perspective can help a lot of people who chronically whine out there. I also believe that it’s no fun to be surrounded by people who constantly complain or are “negative Nancies”, but let’s not downplay people who are hurting even if they aren’t hurting as bad as others.  “You don’t know what someone else is going through” is a important statement to remember.  But I like to add, “You don’t know what someone else is going through unless you ask them.” Be there, be an ear for others; not a judge.  You won’t know how much good it does.

If you are really struggling, like more than a few friendly ears can cure, always know that we are BEYOND BLESSED in this Lake Country area with mental health professionals who can help you cope.

Love + Hugs to a struggling sister from a struggling sister (who won’t compare who is struggling worse),


PS: This article comes from a place of personal experience.  When my husband was disabled over a period of years, it took me awhile to admit I was struggling because he, in fact, was physically struggling so so much.  Eventually seeing a mental health therapist and being diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder {aka not being able to adjust to circumstances} was extremely life-changing. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.