You wake up late in the morning after having missed your alarm, spill coffee on your new suit, get a flat tire that you can’t afford to fix, and get to work only to see that the pitch you had worked so hard on for weeks was rejected and you’re not sure if you’ll even be able to keep your job. The typical response I have noticed in times such as these, after perhaps a brief show of sympathy, is “It could be worse”. This is not only NOT helpful at all, but it also undermines one’s problems as if they are not even a valid concern. Just because things could be worse, doesn’t mean you can’t feel down about them. In the same way, just because things could be better, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel grateful for what you do have.
To tell someone they shouldn’t be upset because things could be worse is no different than telling someone they shouldn’t be happy because things could always be better.
Each person has their own journey with their own struggles and their own perception of circumstances that are oftentimes beyond their control. Yes, it is true that one should not dwell on their problems and let them become all-consuming, but it is also true that each person has the right to react to their problems in their own way and feel their own emotions as they see fit to each situation. It is a simple matter of fact that things could always be worse or better at any given time- this does not justify ones lack of sympathy towards another who is going through a difficult time. Rather than dismissing their feelings, it is better to acknowledge that a challenging situation is at hand and sympathize and provide hope for those who are feeling down, as you would expect others to do for you.
P.S. I am posting my current (edited) FB status to look back on when I finish all my work to remind myself of how adult I was that one time in my life and how good it feels to get things done, lol: “Running into problems with every. single. thing. I am trying to do today, including gathering tax documents, loan documents, insurances, paying bills, credit card points, account logins, work schedules, flights, residency dates, health board work, and so much more…it would be so much simpler if I could just get it all done without encountering so many issues every step of the way! Is this what it means to be an #adult?”