Sometimes if I’ve had a crap day I think, “Well, at least I’m not having to live in a tent in Haiti or rubble in Syria.” Or if I’m worried about cash flow, I’ll think, “Well, at least I’m not taking beer cans back to the store…to get a refund…in order to make bus fare…to get to work…to get my pay check.” (Like I used to.) And sometimes, when my heart is stressed I’ll think, “Better to have lost in love than…”
Sometimes, comparing your pain to others’ is an act of consciousness and compassion. It’s part of inclusive thinking. And it can also be an empowering way to practice gratitude.
But sometimes…comparing our pain to other people’s is a big distraction from our own feelings and the truth of the situation. It’s the opposite of self-compassion and it’s most definitely some shallow positivity.
Denying your personal pain won’t lessen other people’s suffering. And weighing your woes and emotional strife on a global scale doesn’t necessarily make you a more responsible citizen.
Honour your pain, get real about the hassles – it might be some petty stuff or it could be soul-tragic. It’s your experience. Have it. That kind of self awareness serves us all.