Someone Will Always Have it Harder

Many times in my life I have felt guilty for complaining.  You know, because someone else has it harder. 

This happened a lot when I was in a bad place going through something hard in my life.  Like divorce, being a single mom, the struggle with school (when having a child with gifts or special needs) becoming a step parent and blending families, and so many other situations that broke me or made me crumble for an hour, for a day or maybe more. 

But it wasn’t until I had breast cancer that I began to look at my “hard” differently.

It began when my home town asked if they could include me in a benefit they were planning for another lady who had breast cancer.  That was such an odd feeling. 

The fact that people wanted to help was so uplifting but being on the receiving end was a very hard pill for me to swallow.  It just made me feel weird! 

Plus the other lady’s battle had been going on for quite some time. I just didn’t feel worthy.

She passed right after the benefit and I learned exactly how real survivors guilt can be.

I had read about it in my cancer books but had no idea I would feel it so soon in the beginning of my battle. 

I felt awkward anytime I wanted to reach out to her family, like somehow they would resent me for still being here.  They have never been anything but supportive to me but I found myself feeling guilty whenever I would post about my current situation knowing they would give anything for their mom to still be here.

I had many wonderful people reach out to me during this past year in my breast cancer battle. 

In speaking with them I would always ask how things were going in their lives.  I asked this because I truly wanted to catch up or just hear about someone else because focusing on my life was a little too hard at the moment.

So many people would start to complain about something and then stop or get uncomfortable and say “I am sorry I shouldn’t complain when clearly you have it worse”. 

I totally understood where they were coming from!  I had been there!  Not only in my breast cancer battle but as a mom.

Once I complained about autism and how it made my son repeat things over and over to a mom who had a child that was non verbal and thought to myself “you idiot she probably wishes her child could do the things you complain about”.  But when I was on the other end of it, when someone started to tell me about their battles and stopped in fear it was “frivolous” because I had cancer, I had a revelation.

I realized that no matter what your hard is, its totally justifiable to say it is hard!

Just because someone else’s hard is “worse” than your situation doesn’t mean your hard isn’t valid. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I can use the reminder that others have it worse to pull me from the darkness.  Any time I get too sad about my cancer I remind myself how thankful I am that it was not one of my children diagnosed.

I think it is very healthy to be aware of other’s around you and considerate of their situations.

It can be annoying to be around someone who is oblivious that anyone else may have a bad day. But it is also ok to acknowledge a hard time for you or your family and not compare or rank what the level of hard is!

Most recently the kick in the gut I get is when someone complains about their hair, you know because mine is just beginning to grow. But my goodness they allowed to complain about a bad hair day!  Yes, Yes they are.

It is funny the things you take for granted and you know what, that is human!  Maybe the lessons are there just for that reason, to teach us! 

So the next time you worry that saying something is hard will take away from how hard someone else has it… just don’t!  Don’t downplay your hard! 

Remember we all have our own battles and many times we don’t truly know what others are going through.  Maybe talking about them instead of hiding them will allow others to be comfortable enough to talk about their hard with you as well.

I have learned to be aware of the circle I am in when I complain. I sure don’t vent about a fight with my mom to my friend who lost her mom (even though she would probably tell me it is ok!) 

Obviously, it is easier for women who have been through breast cancer to understand my specific complaints.  It is easier for moms with children with ASD, ADHD, Anxiety to understand my complaints in that category.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t all be a little more understanding and give grace to those that are going through something hard in life.

It is not a competition and we all have different struggles but man how wonderful would it be if we all gave each other a little more grace and understanding. 

We can honor our blessings by realizing the trials and trenches we went through to get there! 

We can help others out of the darkness by allowing them to vent and complain and just saying, “your hard is valid and it is ok to speak out about it.”

We can also be encouraging and understanding without comparing or ranking who has the most right to complain.   

Written by, Dana Vinson Mull  

I am married with 3 children – blended family. My youngest is on the spectrum high functioning. We live on the coast of NC and I’m currently battling breast cancer but will beat it!

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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