What’s that saying? I used to feel bad because I had no shoes and then I met a man who had no feet. Yeah, I’m calling bullshit.
Last week I wrote about not comparing yourself and I noticed a trend in the comments – how lucky they were to have what they had and how so many others have it worse so they should feel grateful to have what they have. You’ve heard this theory before, probably a million times, and it’s the basis of all inspiration porn you’ll find out there. To quote Stella Young “It could be worse: I could be that person”.
The problem with this kind of thinking, apart from the fact that someone out there is “that person” and probably feels pretty shit to be used for your inspiration porn, is it doesn’t actually make you feel any better. Not only is it objectifying someone else’s misery for the sole purpose of making you feel good about your life, it’s not even doing a very good job of it. It’s not bad enough we’re feeling down about our luck, we have to feel guilty for feeling bad too?
As a good friend recently said: Just because that is worse, doesn’t mean this isn’t bad.
She was right.
It seems misguided, to me, this concept that you can’t feel bad about your lot in life because someone else has it worse. There will always be someone who has it worse, just as there will always be someone who has it better. Why can’t we be grateful for what we have without turning it into a competition? I feel like that’s the more logical answer.
It’s not that I don’t think we should be grateful, or that I don’t believe being grateful for gratefulness’ sake works (I really just couldn’t condense my point down into something catchy enough for the top, if I’m honest), it’s more that I don’t believe in looking at someone who has it worse than you and using that as a reason to feel like you should be happy with what you have. Of course you should be happy with what you have, but because you have it – not because someone else has it worse. It’s kind of disgusting when you break it down that you’re using someone else’s misery as a reason you should be happy.
Do you believe you should feel grateful because others have it worse?