Food For Thought

'Other People Have It Worse'

An All Too Common Response To Serious Issues

June 27/2021




Ever have a conversation with life that goes something like this?

You “I feel awful.”

Life “Suck it up, other people have it worse.”

Sadness, depression, anxiety, stress – basically anything that makes you feel down, they happen to everyone. Some of us more than others, that’s for sure but I’d be willing to bet everything I have that everyone has felt at least one of these before.

And for an unfortunate bunch, these feelings are constant and difficult to talk about. And when people voice these feelings (make no mistake, when someone vents these feelings to you, they are asking for help, even if it’s as simple as listening for a second), lately I’ve seen/heard one response more and more often : 

“It’s not that bad, other people have it worse.”

Yes, this is true but please don’t fall into this trap. What they’re trying to say is “a perspective adjustment may help here” which is fair and valid, plus they are genuinely trying to help but most of the time when you’re stuck in a negative headspace IT CAN FEEL like they’re really saying  “your feelings aren’t valid, suck it up, stop feeling them.” This just makes everything worse and is why the “other people have it worse” argument needs… Adjusting. 


Now for something that may feel like an abrupt left turn but I promise you, can help :

Feelings are real but they aren’t reality.”

Your feelings are real, they should not be ignored, looked down on or pushed aside, they should be taken seriously but while they are real to you, they aren’t reality. 

                                   That’s gonna need some explaining.

How can feelings be real but also… Not?

Feelings filter the lens that we see life through.

Are you happy right now? Then odds are things around you look pretty awesome. Are you depressed? Heartbroken from a break up? Then when you look around you probably struggle to see the good and just see general struggle. Are you tripping on mushrooms?

Things probably look all wavvvvvvvvvy!

Okay that last one is a bit off a goof but the bottom line is your emotions are real but since they aren’t physically real I.E – You can’t reach out and touch a feeling, they only exist inside you and that means you can control and influence them.

This leads to a whole other topic that we will be covering thoroughly – How to manage your feelings but for now, let’s back track a bit. “It’s not that bad, other people have it worse” is a double edged sword.

There are times this this can actually be a very useful mental tool. Stub your toe? … “It’s not that bad.” Your favourite team loses a game? … “It’s not that bad.” Get in a minor fender bender? … “It’s not that bad, at least people aren’t seriously hurt.”

In these examples, it’s great! And honestly sometimes the “it’s not that bad” argument can really help with a slight perspective change. But when it comes to something serious and if that simple pick me up doesn’t work, if you’re struggling or going through a hard time for any reason then please, please, PLEASE – Don’t let anyone minimize your feelings.

You’re allowed to feel bad, things are allowed to get to you. It’s okay, it happens to everyone.

But on that same page, if someone hits you with the good ole “It’s not that bad” then keep in mind, they’re probably just trying to help and perk you up a bit. Although… Some people are assholes and are trying to push you aside, it’s up to you to decide if someone has your best interest or not and if they don’t, then don’t confide in those people.

Bottom line. If you need help, ask for it and if you get the It’s not that bad.Then calmly explain it feels bad enough to you.

So let’s bring it full circle. Depending on who you are, you’re probably either thinking “yup, I completely understand this, we do need to show more empathy when people ask for help, even if they aren’t directly asking for help”. OR “You’ve spent this whole time bitching about something that you yourself have admitted isn’t real.”

I’m about to David Blane you guys. We can conjure something from nothing and it’s easier than you’d think… How do we do this? Simple.

By showing people your real feelings, they become reality. 

When you know the quiet person in the corner cubicle doesn’t really speak because he has crippling anxiety… You can reach out and touch that (no, don’t actually touch them) but once the feeling is out there, it’s like Pandora’s box. It’s now real and that person is no longer ‘the weirdo who doesn’t talk to anyone’ they’re now ‘the person who might just not talk first.’

When you know your friend isn’t returning your calls you can get angry “they don’t even text me back, why should I bother with them?” But when you find out that they’ve been dumped and haven’t told anyone… You can reach out to them. Their heartbreak is real now and it reframes everything.

I think you get where I’m goin with this. Speaking about stuff makes it real because people see it. So if we want help… Just talk about it.

People will listen and your feelings will become real.

NOTE! : This was not written by a therapist or medical professional. This is just an observation from an everyday person and should not be treated as professional advice hence the no references at the end or within the article. But we hope you related to it and it can help!

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