This video has been going around a lot recently, and for good reason – there are a lot of really great thoughts in it. I love the story about the pancakes, but the part that really hit home with me was when she talks about the dangers of ranking my hard against your hard…
Sara and I have had a really hard time getting pregnant. I’ve promised myself that once we’ve had the baby and all of it’s behind us, I’m going to write about it in more detail, but for the time being, I’ll just say that it’s taken us years to get where we are today and tens of thousands of dollars to get here, and for now we’ll leave it at that.
It’s been really hard, but quite frankly, a lot of the time what made it even worse was not having the social support that we didn’t know we didn’t have until we were already up to our necks in it.
Comparisons were levied at us from every direction. We had friends try to minimize what we were going through by telling us their own pregnancy horror stories. We had family tell us that it wasn’t fair for us to distance ourselves from gatherings because other people had it hard, too. We also had friends and family who held back the good tidings in their own lives because they felt bad about the things that we were going through.
It was after one of these randomly terrible exchanges that I started analyzing what was going on around us and it really made me start to wonder, “Why does your hard have to be worse than my hard? Or better, for that matter? Why can’t we just sit here and sympathize with each other over the phone and recognize that we’re both going through some really hard times, and support each other instead of one person having to win over the other???”
Because believe you me, I certainly didn’t feel like I had won that conversation. Knowing that I’ve got it harder than somebody else doesn’t help me to get through that situation any better than knowing that it could be worse. If something is hard for me, then it’s hard … it doesn’t make it any lighter because I could have cancer or my loved one could’ve been killed in a plane crash instead of simply having to endure this less hard problem of not being able to make a baby.
Everything is hard, and most everyone goes through hard patches in their lives, but that sentiment should never be used as an argument to “Suck it up!” because “Everybody’s got problems…”
Everybody’s got problems because life is hard, and we should strive to help each other through those hard times by being there, and being supportive, and listening, and not judging, and not comparing someone else’s struggles to our own as a means to justify how much sympathy they deserve. We could all stand to be a little more neighborly and easy-going on one another instead of always being so quick to throw our own challenges into the mix when the other person is just trying to unload.
What would’ve helped in any of those situations is if someone would’ve spoke up and said, “Hey, it sounds like what you’re going through is really hard. Do you want to talk about it?” Or, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee and try to get your mind off of that stuff for a while.” Or even just, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you. Full stop.”
It’s actually pretty simple because my problems may not be about you, but you’re welcome to try and help be part of the solution … as long as you can remember that they’re about me and not about you.
And that’s actually pretty hard, too, but it’s something that we all have to work through together. 😉