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What you are feeling is no more or less important than what anyone else is feeling. A thread on comparative suffering.
We have been struggling with how to make space for our pain, and others pain, based on their relative degree of awfulness. We have also been told that comparative suffering does not get us anywhere, so we should stop.
What happens when we try to stop comparative suffering without understanding it is we miss out on the deeper need it is revealing to us. Whether we say about our suffering, it is worse or not as bad as others’, takes us outside of the common human experience.
This has a purpose. To diminish our suffering (they have it worse) helps us feel like what we are going through is tolerable. If someone else can go through that, we can get through this. It is often a feature we carry into adulthood when our pain as children was devalued
Placing pain higher on the hierarchy of sufferingoften makes us feel like our suffering is valid, legitimate, indeed hard. As if we may then recieve recognition and the seeing and feeling of our pain. This can often signal our longing for empathy, or our inability to take it in.
Understanding how we compare and rank our pain can help us see what we really need, where we hurt, and what we are longing for (especially when we don’t have it now, or didn’t have it back then). Then we can see and make room for our pain, but how we have tried to manage.
all pain Longs to be acknowledged. Then we can move through it, and don’t need defences to get away from it. Being with pain without ranking it means we can be with others in their pain. Then we don’t have to make others’s pain go away to stop us from feeling our uproceased hurts
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