Have you ever been told that you shouldn’t feel bad about the problems in your life, because someone always has it worse? I’ve heard this so many times, whether in those exact words, or slightly different. Each time I hear it, it bothers me. It bothers me, because it always made me feel like my problems didn’t matter. I have led a very lucky and privileged life, but I still have problems and trials. But despite these trials and problems, I would think they didn’t matter, because I thought someone was suffering more. It didn’t matter that I felt lonely and left out as a teenager, because there are some people in the world who don’t have homes or food to eat. It didn’t matter that I missed my husband when he was away on a trip, because some people aren’t married when they want to be. It doesn’t matter that I have extreme anxiety about having kids (delivering them, not raising them), because some women can’t have kids. It doesn’t matter that I wish we had more money for things and could save more for our future home, because some people can’t afford to pay for the things they need.
While it is important to have perspective during trying times, focusing on the fact that some people may have it worse is not the answer. Your problems aren’t the same as anyone else, and they may seem small in comparison, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t matter. Having the perspective and sensitivity to recognize that a small problem to someone is a big problem to someone else is so important.
One of my favourite quotes is the one pictured above, “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is something I would try to remember when I was working retail and would have a particularly difficult customer, but it’s also important to remember if you get caught up in comparing problems. As humans, we each have struggles, trials, and problems. It’s not the problem that is the issue, it’s the person who is facing it. Perspective is everything. Remember that next time you’re tempted to think you’re problems don’t matter. They do. And you do too.