Storytellers often tell me that they don’t want to tell a specific story because even though the moment was a bad one for them, it was nothing compared to the suffering that others experience on a daily basis.
“Hogwash,” I say.
If we allowed this to be the standard for telling a story, only the people suffering the most on this Earth would have the right to tell their stories. If you’re not starving or falsely imprisoned or being burned at the stake, you don’t get to tell the story about your terrible, no good, very bad day.
Pain and suffering should never be ignored or denied simply because you know of someone in a far worse state. Problems should not be discarded simply because others suffer far worse problems than you.
Our suffering is real, regardless of how it compares to the suffering of another person. Our problems are real, regardless of how they compare to the problems of others. We have a right to those stories.
Admittedly, it might be a good idea to avoid describing your problems and your suffering as the worst on the planet. And acknowledging some perspective might be a good idea, too. But you get to tell these stories because they are real and authentic and true. You own these stories. You need not worry that your suffering hasn’t been great enough and your problems haven’t been large enough to warrant a story.
Sometimes telling them will also make you feel a little better.
That said, I do find great value in learning about the suffering of others, not to mitigate or negate our own suffering or make our problems seem petty and stupid, but to teach us to also count our blessings. Recognize the great fortune we enjoy. Find our silver linings.
You can only live your life, and pain is pain, regardless of the degree. But being able to see that along with our pain and suffering, we are also blessed with great fortune is a way to perhaps feel a little better about our existence.
Find some balance.
Discover some slivers of light in our sometimes (or oftentimes) dark world.
This brilliantly and fascinating little video, entitled Styrofoam, might offer a little bit of that.