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.

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