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Why It's Time for Us to Own Our Health Struggles

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“It could be worse.”

We’ve all said this at some point. We say it because we genuinely mean it. We say it to show people that we aren’t drowning in our own sorrows, we say it to try and show people that we aren’t ungrateful and we say it to try and convince ourselves that its true when we feel at rock bottom.

But why? Why can’t we just be in the moment, realize that we are struggling, and that it’s OK to feel like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to us?

What good does it do to compare yourself to someone who might have a bigger problem than you? It takes away from what you are going through and it makes you feel guilty for allowing yourself to feel sad about your situation.

We need to stop doing it right now! We are always being told not to compare ourselves to each other in other area’s in our lives, and that should count for the tough times too.

Just because you know someone who is going through a tough time, with a problem deemed “bigger” or “worse” than yours, does not mean you have to suddenly stop feeling hideous and pretend nothing is happening to you.

I used to be the worst culprit for saying, “It could be worse,” or saying, “Well, my friend is going through ____ and my problem is nothing compared to that.”

It was like I wasn’t allowing myself to realize how awful and how hard my situation was, just because someone else also had it tough. And that stopped me from owning my situation and being able to deal with it and heal.

The day I realized it was OK to stop doing this was the day I was in therapy for a long standing eating disorder. I had been bulimic for exactly half of my life at that point, 13 years. I had finally decided to get help once and for all, but I had been going to my sessions for months and kept stalling in my progress. I kept telling her that there were millions of people worse off than me and that I should be able to stop feeling the way I did and move on. I literally didn’t feel worthy enough to be allowed to struggle and feel the pain of it all properly.

My therapist told me that day, “You know, you can keep telling yourself that others are worse off than you, but until you realize that it’s OK to feel your suffering, to realize that this is the worst thing in your life right now – you will never be able to move passed this and recover.”

It made me really think about what she meant and it totally made sense. Yes, somebody I knew was going through hell with an issue in their life, but so was I. Just in a different way. That was the worst thing going on in her life at that moment, and this was the worst thing going on in mine. And I finally realized that it was OK to feel sad, to feel annoyed that this was going on in my life, to feel everything. It was happening to me no matter what was happening to others and I needed to feel everything, allow myself to own my struggles and then begin to heal.

When I allowed myself to do that, it changed my life.

I tell anyone I know the very same thing my therapist told me when they utter the words, “It could be worse,” and now I’m telling whoever reads this.

Try it, tell yourself its OK to feel the way you do. Once you realize that right now, it’s the worst thing happening in your life, nobody else’s, you can come to terms with whatever the issue is. Once you stop comparing how “big” or “serious” your problem is to other peoples, you will be able to feel so much more at peace and allow yourself the room to deal with whatever the problem is.

Do it today!

Getty Image by Archv

This story originally appeared on Chronically Seeking Wellness.

Originally published: July 6, 2018
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