We all love a powerful personal story. There are many incredibly inspirational people out there who share some of the hardest and traumatic times of their lives, to help understand the lessons they got from those experiences. And it is true that it can be really valuable to see that others have got through adversity – it can give you hope that your current situation is not impossible to navigate.
But there is a down side to this as well. It is really common for you to dismiss your own suffering, your own feelings of lack of worth or opportunity, by stating that “my problems aren’t as bad as theirs – what have I really got to complain about?”
While it may be true that seeing others going through a harsh experience can help out yours into perspective, it is really dangerous to downplay your own suffering because it doesn’t sound or look as hard as others. Pain is pain. Discomfort is discomfort. Emotional distress is emotional distress. And it is an entirely personal experience – nobody can know the grade or severity of your pain except you. And it doesn’t matter if you compare it to others and think that you don’t have the right to complain – yes you do!
The reason it is so important for you to acknowledge that your own pain and suffering is real and deserves validation , is because without doing so, it is nearly impossible to move past it. It stands in your way, blocking your path until you admit it is there. Only then would you be able to look at someone else’s situation and see whether you can learn lessons from them. But don’t let the only lesson you learn is that you are not suffering enough – there is no such thing.