Today, I realized that a lot of people tend to make literally any little thing that probably doesn’t even concern them, about themselves. You’d be surprised at how often people just want to say that they can relate, but unknowingly they make the turn the situation into a competition to see who has had it the worst instead of simply listening to what the people around them are going through. You say something about feeling exhausted and there will almost always be an XYZ person who will make a list of all the reasons why they’re more hard-working and therefore more exhausted than you’ll ever be.
I just have to get this out: It’s not always about you! It’s not even remotely about you. And guess what? Every single person out there is different and has different levels of tolerance. We all think, see, grow, learn, love, dress, play, relax, talk, write— do anything and everything in between differently. So what makes you think that the person you just shamed for being exhausted at the age of 20-something is just a lazy, good-for-nothing and doesn’t deserve to be tired at all?
So what do you do when people come to talk to you about their grievances? You listen. You just listen. You don’t come up with an ‘I can relate because there was this one time…’ or ‘Oh, that’s nothing! You should hear about how bad I had it that time!’ No, buddy! It’s not about you and it’s never going to be unless they specifically ask you if you can relate or if you have any ideas up your sleeve that can help them. You shut your trap and sympathize instead of trying to make them feel bad for telling you about their hardships.
Of course, I’m not innocent in all of this. I’ve done this before and I’m not proud of it. But there is such a thing as unlearning and I’m on my way to trying to be a better person with every passing day. It’s not easy and I fall off the wagon sometimes, but I’m trying and that’s what matters. In fact, the less we make things about ourselves, the better we are at actually listening and being helpful when somebody needs us to be. It’s easier to see the bigger picture when things are not about yourself.
This isn’t a jab at anybody in particular, but I do feel like it is something that should be talked about more often. This goes both ways! There might be situations where a friend is sharing their personal drama with you, and all you can talk about is how you’ve been through something worse. That’s where we become problematic. It’s not called being ‘relatable’, it’s called being a bad friend to turn to in a time of need. What we should be doing instead is listening to those who chose to confide in us because at that moment, that is the problem which needs to be solved or at the very least, acknowledged.
There will be plenty of time to share about that time when you had to face a similar problem and how it was allegedly a ‘bigger’ problem than your friends’. But you know what? It’s best not to compare stories because there is always so much more to them. If anything, remember this: no two people are the same and neither are their burdens. What seems like nothing to you doesn’t necessarily have to seem like a ‘small’ problem to others because some of us are still learning how to do this life thing.
The world doesn’t revolve around us and there’s always a much bigger picture that we should see. It’s really not that deep, you know?
Hey guys! I hope you liked this post. Let me know in the comments below or share with someone you might wanna show this to! You can also reach out to me and say ‘Hi’ on Twitter and Instagram. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.