I have been comforting some friends lately and even myself. And I keep hearing a refrain, “At least you’re not…”
“Think of all those suffering so much worse than you…”
“Sounds like a first world problem to me…”
“Be grateful that it’s not…”
Here’s the thing. Someone is always going to have it worse (and some will always have it better, but that will be another post).
For whatever reason, I do not live in the Ukraine. I was not born into a tribe of cannibals. Or a famine-stricken region of Africa. I am not the parent of a child with a terminal illness. I am not in an abusive marriage.
The list could go on.
I hurt. I worry. I am afraid. I have hard things happen.
Our life and its blessings and its struggles is singularly ours. How we feel is singularly our experience. Another person could have it the exact same as us and respond entirely different.
And while I may even think you are wrong for how you are responding, I absolutely believe in your right to feel your own feelings your own way.
I think it is mean and plain unhelpful to respond to someone hurting with a shaming statement of comparison.
Feel. Just feel it. It is a feeling and can change. Frequently. Usually, my feelings just need release. And once that first wave passes, relief, comfort and perhaps even a solution or two present themselves. But judgement and guilt for having the feeling is not going to help.
I know others have it worse. I know it. I pray, I help. I do what I can.
But when it is my turn to be “worse” or yours, let’s focus on comfort. Not comparisons.