Have you ever heard me say that we can always imagine something better than what we have and we can imagine something worse. I use this model as I teach about discontent and how to use it to our advantage, not to compare ourselves with others.

It is not helpful when someone is trying to share their pain.

“My children are driving me crazy with their arguing.” 

“Well, you know April is taking her daughter to the doctor to find out why she isn’t talking yet.”

“My husband is not doing anything about his mother’s interference.”

“At least you have a husband.”

“My boss totally raked me over the coals today at our staff meeting.”

“At least you have a job that makes good money, not like some of us.”

The fact is your journey through life will look completely different from someone else’s journey. 

You do not share the exact same likes, dislikes, pet peeves and personality traits with anyone else. You are unique. And so are they.

Trials and challenges feel like trials and challenges, even if someone else’s are more severe. 

Pain is not a contest. 

It isn’t about whose experiences are more traumatic or more damaging. 

Pain is pain. It hurts and makes us sad.

When someone shares something that is obviously painful or upsetting to them, don’t go to comparisons. 

Or judgement.

Let them know that you hear them and try to identify with their experience. Ask more questions to fully understand what happened from their viewpoint. 

Ask them how they feel about the situation. Try to place yourself in their shoes.

Ask them if there is anything you can do to help them feel better.

Sometimes the most helpful thing is to just listen. 

Your friend is not expecting you to solve the problem, they just want to vent. 

Act like a duct system and allow the problems to flow outside.

Then, you can move onto other topics. 

Pain is not a contest, use your pain to create discontent, the kind that propels you to make changes in your life that will take you to the next level.

Dr. Paul