It’s Not So Bad

Whatever you’re going through, no matter how frustrating or horrible it may be, there is one thing you can be sure of: Someone else has it worse. You lost your job. Someone else recently lost their grandson. You’re feeling depressed. Someone else is feeling a lump in their breast. The market went south on you. Someone else is having trouble keeping their heater on as the temperature heads south.

“Cast your eyes upon the great company of people you know, or do not know,” Seneca wrote to the grieving daughter of a friend, “everywhere you will find those who have suffered greater losses than yours…you will not mention a single home so wretched that it could not take comfort from knowing one more wretched.”

It’s true. Even at the worst moment here in the First World, there is someone in the Third World who would gladly trade just about anything to experience your suffering instead of theirs (Though it’s worth pointing out that a group of Masai tribesman donated 14 cattle as a gift in 2002 to the victims of 9/11). That’s not to say your pain isn’t real, or that you have no right to your feelings. It’s a helpful bit of perspective: On the whole, you’ve experienced many more blessings than curses.

It’s just hard to remember that in the moment. But try if you can today. It’s a good practice. If you can do it know, when things are OK, you’ll be better at remembering it when real tragedy does come your way.

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