Your problems are not more important than anyone else’s.
Yes this might sound harsh and you may beg to argue, but hear me out. The encompassing feeling of stress, anger, sadness or general frustration that comes with being dealt a band hand, suffering a loss, struggling financially, or any other rough situation in life, is specific to each and every individual. No one can truly measure their experience next to someone else’s. In similar situations there are varying degrees of urgency or repercussions but we are all entitled to feel the emotions we do.
Taking loss as an example:
If you have never experienced a significant loss in your life and then your family pet suddenly dies, it’s going to be heart wrenching. That’s because it’s the only experience with death you’ve ever had; you don’t have anything else to compare it to. Now let’s say someone’s parent, sibling or partner dies. Is that a “worse” loss? Again, my argument is that it’s not something that be compared. They’re completely different but both affect us in similar ways.
The same idea is applied to many other experiences. If I am struggling to pay my bills (and I have been in that situation many times) it doesn’t mean that my stress is harder or easier than someone who makes more or less money than myself. And yes, I understand my place and privilege in society, so you might be thinking, “well, what about someone who’s homeless or people in developing countries?”. The stress we experience doesn’t warrant us a pass to put down others when they try to sympathize. But it also shouldn’t stop us from allowing ourselves to feel like our experiences aren’t valid. We are all living in a world where what we grew up with is our level of “normal”. We are all walking different paths while experiencing varying degrees of similar problems.
It’s important that we are not only understanding of one another but gentle with ourselves when things get tough. If we walk alongside each other, rather than push each other out of the way, we will notice our burdens become a little lighter.
Live with love and empathy,