Don’t quantify suffering

By | Mon October 16, 2017

One of the things I learned in support group was to not quantify suffering. It is all too easy to find someone who has it worse off than you – but that does not make your suffering any less valid or real. And when we do this quantification, we are dismissing our own suffering and not acknowledging it – or we are dismissing the suffering of others, and not helping or supporting them.

In the cancer world, it is all too easy to find someone who had it easier and someone who had it more difficult, but the experiences of others does not invalidate your experience. It doesn’t make your experience any less sucky. And those who have it easier than you still suffer. Their suffering is just as valid as yours.

I remember when a friend passed and I was feeling sad, but I also didn’t feel like I had the right to be sad. I had empathy for her family who where going through so much more grief than me. A good friend told me not to quantify my grief. It is a message that has stuck with me. I see the same with suffering. Trying to compare suffering doesn’t make it any better.

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