“At least you have a husband.”
Yep. I’ve said it.
Probably more times than I can count. Maybe not out loud, but certainly in my mind.
Someone is telling me a frustration or challenge they’re having with their spouse, and the whole time I’m labeling them as ungrateful. You have exactly what I want, how dare you complain about it?
Have you been there, too?
It’s easy to do if we aren’t careful. To take our own feelings and frustrations and project them onto another. To label or judge someone else’s pain. To assume someone must not be grateful for what they have because they’re struggling to navigate it.
And this impulse to judge another’s pain or compare it to our own seems to be more prominent now than ever.
Our world is collectively in crisis.
Each one of us is experiencing some level of pain, discomfort, fear, or grief. And it’s easy for that desire to rise within us. The one that tempts us to say “Well at least you...” or “You should just be grateful that...”.
“At least you have a spouse.”
“At least you have alone time.”
“At least you have children.”
“At least you....[fill in the blank].”
But though there are times it may feel easier, comforting even, to lash out at another’s pain, I’d offer that there is no more important time to learn that we don’t need to invalidate someone else’s pain to validate our own.
We are all processing this through the lens of our own experience. In our life, in our circumstances, what we’re feeling is very real. It’s valid, and I encourage us to remember that it’s real and valid for those around us, too.
Even more so, I encourage us to remember that frustration, sadness, anger, fear...these are not the opposite of nor do they automatically indicate the absence of gratefulness.
We can be grateful for something, yet find it challenging, both at the same time.
My hope is that through this trial we will take on a posture of being slower to judge, and quicker to offer one another, and ourselves, grace. Grace to allow others to process this through the lens of their own reality, without comparison, and grace for ourselves to do the same.
And more than anything, I hope we will strive to simply be kind. ♥️