Why I Wouldn't Trade My 'Pile of Problems' for Someone Else's


“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” –Regina Brett

While I love all inspirational quotes, this one always seems relatable – no matter what is going on in life. It always brings me back to a memory I have from several years ago, a memory that perfectly parallels this positive line.

My father founded a law firm over 30 years ago that advocates and fights for the rights of children and adults with disabilities. Because of my parents, my sisters and I grew up with an appreciation, understanding and respect for the term “disABILITY”, and I’m forever thankful they instilled that in us.

One day after school, I went to visit my dad at work. He was finishing up a meeting with two obviously loving parents. With them was one of the most adorable boys I’ve ever seen. He had big brown eyes and the biggest smile ever. He introduced himself, told me a little about school and then exited out the back door, down the ramp, in a little motorized wheelchair. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

After they all left, I remember saying to my dad, “I feel so bad for him.” Without hesitation, my dad responded, “Don’t. Don’t feel bad. Because he doesn’t feel bad for himself, nor does he want others to. He’s a happy young boy and no different than any other kid his age.”

That memory has always resonated with me. While I have had my own personal ups and downs with mental illness, particularly OCD, I wouldn’t trade any of my battles for someone else’s. That young boy gave me a brighter, more positive perspective on life that day. No one is perfect. Everyone has problems. But it is important for us all to remember the “pile of everyone else’s problems” so that we can better understand the
issues others are going through — and most importantly, to help create a global respect for one another.

Getty image by Maxim Zarya.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Disability

Woman bathing.

5 Reasons Self-Care Is Important, Whether You Have a Disability or Not

Self-care is immensely important when it comes to managing life, whether one has a disability or not. Finding a healthy balance between long work hours and a fast paced home life, all while possibly juggling a disability can prove to be overwhelming. We all need a moment to enjoy some stress-free time to ourselves and [...]
five adults standing, two seated in wheelchairs smiling and posing for a photo

This Labor Day, There's Good News About Disabilities and Employment

Lauren Appelbaum is the communications director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. As Labor Day weekend arrives, the disability community has a lot to celebrate. According to recently-released statistics, 343,483 more people with disabilities joined the American workforce in 2016. This is a four-fold improvement over the previous [...]

How Zappos Adaptive is Showing that Fashion Can be Accessible

Can functional be fashionable? When was the last time you shopped for fashionable products that worked for you? Were you able to find clothes and shoes that were easy to put on and looked great? Zappos has a shopping experience that brings together stylish products with unique features from innovative brands. To name a few… [...]
Charlie Heaton

'Stranger Things' Actor Charlie Heaton Cast as 'Elephant Man' in Upcoming BBC Biopic

BBC has tapped “Stranger Things” actor Charlie Heaton for the title role of its upcoming adaptation of “The Elephant Man,” a two-part biopic scheduled to air in 2019. Heaton, who is able-bodied, will portray Joseph Merrick. Merrick was born in London in 1862, and after he exhibited physical differences as a child, was relegated to [...]