The Trouble With Comparison

No matter who you are, where you live, what language you speak, or how you were brought up, we all have the same ability to feel and be felt by the people around us. It’s our perspective that’s different—it’s shaped entirely by personal experiences, and can vary wildly even among people who have grown up right beside each other. No two people on this earth see the world exactly the same way. Friends find each other at intersections—be it bonding over a similar break-up or a mutually difficult childhood—but everyone has full stretches of highway that no one else will ever drive down.

See, talking about the things we’ve been through is a little bit like telling stories from a trip you went on. Sometimes the person you’re talking to will have been to the same place, but even then, their stories won’t be exactly the same as yours.

And this is why I’ve never understood why people spend so much time comparing their problems to other people’s problems.

I’ve met so many people that constantly remind themselves of how many people have it worse than they do, or that they’re actually so lucky to live the life they live, so they don’t deserve to be hurting. Before I say anything else, let me say this:

Feelings are not something you have to earn.

They aren’t something you have to work to deserve, and you do not have to justify them to anyone but yourself. The way that we react to things is completely involuntary. Feelings don’t care if their presence isn’t called for—they will show up regardless, whether it’s crying over a stolen car or panicking in a large crowd. We get to these points by following a unique set of directions, so, your feelings are always valid.

The biggest argument I hear against this point is that somewhere, someone else has it worse. There are people starving in Africa, some people don’t even have homes, some people have lost loved ones. Yes, these are terrible things. Yes, these feel much worse than losing your car keys. Here’s the thing though: there will always be someone who hurts more deeply than you. There will always be someone having a harder time. But this does not mean that you cannot feel torn after a fight with your best friend or break down sobbing at the end of a bad day. It does not mean you have to sweep your feelings aside.

You are no less important. You matter. You deserve. You are.

Don’t ever tell yourself any differently.