Have you ever been down in the dumps about something going on in your life and had someone tell you not to be down about it because there’s someone else out there who has it worse?
I honestly, found this to be the most messed up advice anyone can give for several reasons.
First of all, you’re basically telling the person to base their happiness on the level of suffering another human being is going through.
“I’m sorry you lost your ball game, Billy. But you should cheer up because Timmy fell down the well and broke both his legs.”
Exactly what kind of message is that to send to anyone? Especially our children. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever complained to their mother as a child about “being bored” only to hear about what kids in orphanages get to do to cure their boredom. Ir whined about being “sooo hungry” only to be lectured about the starving kids in Africa. We’re being raised with the mentality that we should be happy and take comfort in knowing that someone else is suffering more than we are.
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I heard things like that as a child, it made me more miserable thinking about their suffering and my inability to do anything about it. And yes, I was that much aware as a child. Remember, children are people too. They have feelings same as adults do, they just don’t understand them or know how to handle them as well as an adult should. But that’s a blog post for another day.
This kind of mentality basing our happiness on the suffering of others is why there’s messed up jokes about rape, child molestation and so on. So, honestly, those who have a problem with these jokes should honestly think about that before they tell someone it’s not funny or offensive. Why? Because these are usually the same kinds of people who would tell you to be happy with your life and to be grateful you’re not working in a sweatshop for 8 cents a day. You can’t have it both ways, people. Pick one. You either want people to draw their happiness from the suffering of others or to be mature and draw happiness from positive things. Like, here’s a crazy idea, instead of telling people that they should be happy because someone else is suffering, how about encouraging them to be happy for someone else’s good fortune? This will not only cheer them up but it also nurture a sense of concern for mankind to replace the sense of “I’m happy when good things are happening to me but not when they’re happening to someone else.”