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It could be worse

We all know the old saying about how misery loves company. We all know that things like being sad or feeling pain or getting rejected suck. Being mad is better. (Not by much, though.)

But you know what makes everything worse?

Being told that your pain doesn’t matter because somebody else is feeling pain right now.

Sorry, but other people’s problems don’t solve mine or yours or anyone else’s. It just doesn’t work that way. They also don’t negate them.

Well, unless it’s a “first world problem” like “My jeans didn’t come artfully ripped in just the way I wanted when I paid like 500 dollars for them!” or “My parents bought me a 2009 Jetta instead of a 2010 Jetta!” (Subtext: even though I don’t have a job and don’t appreciate anything else they do for me.) Then, I really have no sympathy for you.

But really, I’ve been told to not ever worry if my boyfriend does something that upsets me because at least he’s not abusive/dead, like I don’t have a right to feel upset unless someone’s life is in danger. I’ve been told not to be sad if I fail a class because at least I have an education. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be upset if someone makes a sexual move on me that I don’t want because at least I’m getting the damn attention. My apartment can’t stay warm? At least I have a place to live. I have the flu? At least I’m not in the hospital.

Things could be worse; it’s so very true, but that does not negate what’s going on here and now. Things could be worse, but they aren’t, and so I want to make them better. But maybe I need to mourn. Maybe I need to get things off my chest. Maybe I feel like I’ve been beaten with a tire iron by the stupid flu and I don’t want to move.

My feelings are my own. Your feelings are yours. We all feel, and, a lot of the time, we feel differently than others. Our own feelings are, by and large, more important to us than the feelings of others, but that does not make the feelings of others any less legitimate.

Who am I to preach? Am I perfect? Hell no. I, too, have a hard time not telling someone to just get over something I have a different experience (or none at all) with. Well, I mean, unless it’s something I know is bad. I’d never dream of telling a victim of a disaster or a crime to just get over it. It takes time to move past (or at least through) these things, just as it does for anything. I just don’t see the point in hanging onto some things, but I try not to get in fights over it. I try to do my best to listen, and I say when I can’t anymore. I try not to say “It could be worse”, even when it could be.

It could be better, too, and I think I’d prefer it that way.


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