Storms

Everyone is going to the grocery store and buying bread and milk for the impending storm. Milk sandwiches and french toast are apparently popular during inclement weather. This has had me thinking – can you really prepare for the storms that you are faced with? We typically don’t have a meteorologist telling us an obstacle or a challenge will be headed our way. We aren’t given warning to evacuate or make the changes we need to stay safe from harm. If we did have warning, would we be able to change or prevent a situation from happening? Would this help or hurt?

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Forecast: sunny with a chance of elephants and silliness

What’s a storm for one may be a rain shower for another. Whatever the magnitude of the issue, it is still very much real to the beholder. Often I hear people say, it can always be worse. (I say this ALL the time). Yes, that is typically true. However, everyone has the right to their pain, their questioning moments, and their struggles – whether they are big or small in the scheme of life. I often ask, “will this matter 10 years from now?” If it’s a disagreement with a family member or friend, the answer is typically no. If it’s something bigger, like an illness, accident, or a loss- the answer may indeed be yes.

The calm before the storm

Recently, I spoke with a friend who was having difficulties coping with the possibility of moving away from her family, friends, and the world she loves. She didn’t want to uproot her life and her children’s lives. She then shared a tragic tale of a friend with terminal cancer, who recently lost her husband in an accident, and the looming future of their children who will likely grow up without both of their parents. My friend felt she had no right to feel badly about her own situation because it wasn’t on the scale of this catastrophic situation. She is right – it is not on the same scale. She and her family are healthy and whole, whether they stay in their current home or move out of state. They will eventually adjust and adapt to new surroundings. However, she has every right to be sad, angry, anxious or whatever feeling she is experiencing in this moment and the moments to come. This potential move may matter to her in 10 years or it may not. Only time will tell. It’s still a storm for her right now. It doesn’t have to be a category 5 hurricane for life to feel uncertain. We just need to keep an umbrella nearby to keep us from getting soaked.

My daughter is prepared for the hurricane with both her floaties and her umbrella.

14 thoughts on “Storms

  1. What if instead of saying ‘it could be worse’ or ‘there is always someone worse’, we said ‘it could be better’?

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    1. I like that, Stacy! Saying it that way validates the person’s experience and seems more hopeful. Good reframe! Thanks!!

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  2. Thank you for this one. We used to say comparison is a thief of joy. But sometimes comparison also has robbed us of going through struggles that we are meant to really go through and grow from.

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  3. I do agree with this post. Yes someone will always have it worse than us but it doesn’t invalidate our feelings. I like the above comment about it could be better also!

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  4. Good post! I tend to say that a lot to my kids about different things. My daughter told me recently after I said it to my son that I shouldn’t always say that bc it invalidates his feelings. And I struggle with that myself – feeling almost guilty if I am struggling with something and I think of other situations people are going through that are so much worse.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl!! Your daughter is wise beyond her year! Maybe a future therapist? I struggle with the same things myself.

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  5. I agree with all the comments above. We feel guilty about our feelings and we constantly compare our sufferings to those worse off than us. I live with a chronic illness and for years, I kept telling myself it could be worse. Great post.

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    1. Thank you! We have every right to our struggles, as long as they don’t take over our life. I’m sorry to hear about your chronic illness and I am glad that it isn’t “worse.”

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  6. I love your analogy. You’re absolutely right–everyone’s feelings are personal, and just because one person’s storm is bigger, doesn’t made the other person’s any less important (to their life).

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  7. Great timing for hurricane season! I love this comparison. It is really all about adjusting and keeping on moving forward, huh?

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    1. Yes!! It definitely is! It’s all about perspective!

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  8. Love this! Comparable suffering is something Brene Brown talks about in her books. I learned a lot about the importance of letting myself feel all the things, without trying to push it away with, “at least” and also let other people feel their stuff too whether I think it’s big or small. Good stuff.

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    1. So glad you like it! I do need to read more Brene Brown. I only read the one that you recommended years ago. I have been guilty of the “it could be worse “ phenomena recently and need to take my own advice.

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