“It Could Be Worse:” The False Silver Lining and Why I Don’t Look For it.

Often times, when people encourage others to look for the silver lining of the situation, they talk about how things could be worse.

You could be starving and living on the streets.” “It could have been broken.” “Some people don’t even have a car.”

The notion that I, or anyone, can take comfort in the fact that others are suffering behooves me. Poverty is a terrible world problem, it needs to be solved, and I refuse to revel in the fact that some people can’t even get clean water everyday. That breaks my heart. That doesn’t, and shouldn’t, lift my spirits.

Also, if I have to measure the value of my life based on the fact that I don’t have [insert deadly illness here,] that’s one sad life. I’d like to think I have more to live for than the absence of suffering.

This summer, I underwent jaw surgery and was completely unable to open my mouth in any whatsoever, I installed a test to speech app on my phone, for an entire week. Then, I was unable to chew solid food for another six weeks.

If this was my idea of human suffering, I wouldn’t have been able to endure the recovery and never would have been cured of my TMJ problems. (I’m not afraid of yawning anymore because the pain is finally gone!)

That’s why I always try to consider future benefits in the face of hard times. Occasionally, the process to a better quality of life is painful and difficult and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. No health problem or financial condition or whatnot should be demonized to the point that it’s intolerable because any one of us could end up in that situation one day.

Another way I like to look to the bright side is to consider what positive things I already have in my life. Yes, I craved any and all solid food 100% of the time, but I was able to walk to the bathroom by myself, I could brush, speak, and eat without a syringe.

(Admittedly, I took all of those things for granted before the surgery.) However, regaining those capabilities transcended my craving for solid food. I took it one meal at a time and, now, I’m happily munching away on whatever my heart desires.

I’ve found that this second method also happens to induce gratitude and that’s all for the better. The main point is that there are healthy ways to cope with adversity, but the “it could be worse” excuse isn’t one of them.

How do you lovelies deal with hardships? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check out my my blog for more like what you just read.

~Live boundless.

11 thoughts on ““It Could Be Worse:” The False Silver Lining and Why I Don’t Look For it.”

  1. I agree with you. I don’t believe in solace that comes from someone else’s suffering. I have never been able to completely jump to a happy things in my life either. I take time to heal and recover and these days – I look for blogs like these that can prove as a kind of community support system. It’s therapy and has worked for me.

  2. I had to chuckle when I read the first few lines, because that’s what my parents always said to me: “You don’t even know what problems are; just be lucky it’s not worse.” Have to admit I still revert back to that from time to time, you know – count my lucky stars. Mostly now though – probably an age thing – I just tell myself “I’ve been through worse, I’ll make it through this.”

  3. i have felt the same way and written similar thoughts on being discounted because someone else may have it worse. i would have hit ‘like’ but the option didn’t appear for me. improvised [like]

  4. I used to look at blogs of those who I thought were at least slightly worse off than I was. Yes, it made me feel better, horrible person that I was. I was depressed, I had no friends and had a lifelong problem with social communication that has crippled my life. So it felt good looking at those who had it a little bit worse. Maybe they were a lot older than I was at the time so there wasn’t as much hope for them. Or maybe they were suffering physically or were even more screwed up mentally than I was. But then, I lost my job and became (sort of) homeless and *I* was that “worse off” person. I will never again use that method of making myself feel better. Looking down on others (even if they aren’t aware you are doing it) is just wrong and in the end, doesn’t solve anything. Nice post.

    • First off, I’m terribly sorry for what has happened to you. I hope that you’re in a better living situation now and, if not, that you can eventually get into one. I’m very proud of you for realizing that looking down on others isn’t healthy. It’s very difficult to break your coping mechanisms, even when you know they’re wrong, and I applaud you for doing that. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your story, I’m glad you liked my post. 🙂

  5. Thank you for this post. I love your POV and hadn’t thought if it that way before. I agree, that to look at the sufferings of others and try to feel better as a result is rather profane.

    It is also invalidating to be told your problems do not matter. I’ve written about the stubbed toe versus the broken leg. Yes, one is longer lasting and more devastating, but in the moment they both hurt enough to be debilitating. I challenge anyone to stub their toe, refuse to feel it, and instead of cryong “ouch”, walk away saying, “It could be worse!” It doesn’t work that way, and neither fo the struggles of life.

    Whether one is depressed or unable to eat or homeless, these situations are painful. There is nothing helpful about being told it could be worse. Yes, perhaps the struggle is shorter-lived than for some other people, but it is suffering in the moment. And it’s real.


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