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Don't Minimize Your Pain

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Here's something we all do so often, and it's one of my pet peeves: comparative suffering.

It sounds like this:

"I shouldn't complain because she has it worse." "I know these aren't real problems because look what she's dealing with. I don't know why this is such a big deal for me." "Other people have it so much harder and here I am talking about my small issues."

It could also go the other way ("I have it really bad, and no one knows what that's like." "My pain is definitely worse than hers." etc.) But I'm going to address the first way. The way where we minimize our own pain.

Here's the truth:

You don't take away someone else's pain by not acknowledging your own.

It's okay to go through a hard time. It's okay to acknowledge your feelings around that. It's okay to complain about it (just don't get stuck there!).

You don't do a service to anyone by putting yourself down for your feelings because someone else may have it worse.

That's basically like saying, "I am not entitled to my feelings, ever."

There's ALWAYS going to be someone who has it worse.

Compare and despair.

Comparing your "small pain" to someone's "larger pain" (how do you even measure the experience of pain?!) will only lead you to feelings of despair. (I'm not talking about putting things in perspective.)

Feel your feelings. Don't minimize your pain.


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