Recently a Facebook friend commented about having shoulder surgery and going through PT. The PT was painful. She posted that she saw a report about someone who was paralyzed and therefore was not going to complain about her PT pain anymore. Her comments made me think and analyze and question perceptions.
We are taught from an early day to be appreciative for all the things we have. We are taught to look around us and see how lucky we are, that there are people going through something worse than us. But what does that teach us ultimately?
It teaches us to minimize our own struggles:
If I have a stomach ulcer, it isn't stomach cancer.
If I have a sore joint, at least I can walk.
If I have migraine headaches, at least it isn't Alzheimer's.
If a break my leg and have painful PT, at least I can walk.
I am sure I could make more comparisons, but you see my point. We are taught to consider ourselves lucky. But what about our pain, our struggle?
It is real. It is intense. We should be allowed to complain or discuss our struggles. I think that by burying our struggles and comparing ourselves to others, we do ourselves a disservice. Whatever I am gong through is going to be tough for me, it is a struggle.
Everyone should be allowed to complain about what they are going through. If PT hurts, I am in pain. It doesn't matter how many people I know who can't walk, my pain is still real. If I get severe headaches, that pain is real no matter who I know with Alzheimer's. And so on.
I don't mean to let yourself become mired in what is happening. There has to be limits to the suffering/complaining. There is a time to remember all the good in your life, a time to remember how lucky you are. And knowing others are dealing with more can be good for you.
Ultimately, I am giving myself to talk about my struggles. There are things in my life that are tough, and I need to be able to discuss them. I need to feel it is okay to hurt, to feel like my struggles are extreme, that my life is my life and the good and bad are mine to deal with. If I need help, it doesn't matter if my problem seems 'small' to others, they are mine.