Don’t Compare Your Suffering
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. You cut your finger.
  2. I broke my arm (though not lately).
  3. She has cancer of the bone.

Who should we comfort the most?

Our rational brain says the most comfort should be saved for the cancer patient. And yes, give it there!

But we’re not limited in who we give comfort to. And it’s not a contest anyway.

Give comfort to the one you’re with. Including yourself. 

My problems seem large when I look at my happy neighbor. But if I looked deeper at her life, I’d see her own portion of suffering.

Yet when I look at Ukraine and other hot spots around the world where there is intense life-and-death scenarios, my problems seem miniscule in comparison.

While there is value in putting our problems in perspective, we don’t need to negate our situation just because it’s less painful than someone else’s (or overvalue it if it’s more painful). 

Give your problems the attention they’re due. Feel your pain. Deal with your trauma.

It’s how you will heal, and can help others heal.

It’s not either your trauma or mine. It’s both/and.

God gives us enough compassion to go around for everyone. Let’s use it. 

Featured Post

For our featured post this week, Shannon reminds us that when we write off our own suffering, (1) we invalidate our emotions, which is unhealthy, and (2) we can succumb to toxic positivity, which can cause even more suffering in the long run.

Read Shannon’s post in its entirety here, then link up your own posts below:

Your Suffering is Valid, Even When Others Have it Worse

Have you felt guilty about your own “small” angst this month in comparison to Ukraine and other trauma around the world? What has helped you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks for sharing, Shannon! Here’s a button for your blog.

I’m linking at these blog parties

1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
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TAMMY KENNINGTON – Restoring hope. Pursuing peace.
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20 thoughts on “Don’t Compare Your Suffering
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Michele Morin

    I definitely tend to minimize my own suffering, because so many DO experience worse sadness. I try to remember the principle of grieving outward –meaning, that we express our sadness about something to someone who is LESS affected than I am.

  2. Shannon

    Thanks so much for featuring my post on how all suffering is valid! The things I mentioned there have definitely helped me over these past few weeks as I see all that is happening in the world. I hope others also benefit from it.
    Have a good weekend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re welcome, Shannon. Thanks for writing down your thoughts (well, typing them up) and sharing them on your blog and then at our linkup! We all can benefit by it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Indeed. I was reading just this morning in Kate Bowler’s devotional “Good Enough” about the Tragedy Olympics. I love what she said:

      “When people enter the Tragedy Olympics, they don’t always realize that it’s not actually a game. It’s just life, and we are all, for better or worse, players who need each other more than we need an award.”

  3. Jerralea

    It’s so true our first world problems are small compared to the tragedies in the world – yet they are big to us! I’m glad God is a detail-noticing God. The bible says He notices when a sparrow falls, so I think He likes when we tell Him our small troubles. It’s part of sharing life.

    I like when you said, “God gives us enough compassion to go around for everyone,” and that includes both the small and the big troubles.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Jerralea. If even the sparrows catch God’s eye, we can rest assured that our problems, whatever their size, also go noticed. May we be more like God.

  4. Lynn

    This is an important message! Minimizing suffering does not do anyone good (although you make think it does). This reminds me too, that if one minimizes there suffering, it does not allow another to use their gifts of healing and compassion.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Great insight, Lynn. When we refuse to show our own hurt, it robs someone of the opportunity to be compassionate. As my friend used to tell me, don’t rob someone of the blessing.

  5. Aritha

    Yes, it is hard for me. I thought: what does my blog matter (because I’m talking about being more kind to myself). It didn’t feel well. People are dying here in Europe. It is 23 hours away by car from us. But still… it’s my my head. Yesterday I posted my blog. We can always pray for the Ukrainians. But we have to pay attention to our own well-being.

    Your beautiful blog. Thank you very much! And, even though my blog is in Dutch, I have shared it on your blog here. Because there is a translate button 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Aritha. You are so right. Even as we pray for the Ukrainians, we can hold lovingkindness for ourselves and those right around us too. Our lives still move forward, even with the tension surrounding us.

  6. Calvonia Radford

    We have to train our minds to care about both, have compassion for both, minister to both. Including ourselves. I was diagnosed with cancer and have no idea what this journey will look like. I’m overwhelmed and uneasy. Yet, my heart continues to break for the Ukrainians and those in my sphere of influence that are hurting for various reasons. I can care for myself while caring for others.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, Calvonia. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis of cancer. 🙁 I pray that you’ll have great care along this journey and that you’ll allow yourself plenty of time for self-compassion as well. Regardless of what is happening in the world, this will be a season to focus on your healing.

  7. Carla

    Thinking about your recent series on mantras this post reminds me of a mantra I use from my mother, “Don’t let someone else’s grief deny you your own.”

    On another level, this issue of downplaying one’s suffering can be a subtle form of pride. I’ve come to believe there are two sides to the coin of pride. One side is the usual “I’m more”; it’s the puffed up version we usually think of when we think of pride. But the other side is “I’m less” or living from a place of shame. In both cases, one is not being true to oneself. The antidote to pride is Authenticity – or as mentioned in your post, acknowledging one’s own suffering. We go THROUGH our suffering (not avoid it) SO THAT we can offer comfort to others as God has comforted us.

    Thanks for a great post.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Carla, I love that mantra you use from your mother about not denying our own grief. Yes! And I also totally agree that there are two sides to pride. We often miss that second side and count it as humility. Which it can be if it’s authentic. Sometimes it may be; sometimes not. Thanks for these insights.

  8. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    Thank you for this, it’s something I do need to remind myself of, as I have always been a reader drawn to escaping into other worlds … it is a way to learn of so many other people and places, and to build compassion for others, but also sometimes can take away the awareness of where we are right now, including our own experience. To feel one’s own feelings is surprisingly hard, I find, but it has proved most rewarding and transformative, and really isn’t selfish at all.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Lory–it’s often harder to stay put, to feel our own feelings, and easier to escape into someone else’s things. As I try to work through my extra hard feelings the past few months, it’s been a real struggle to acknowledge, label, and feel them. Sometimes I do okay with it and other times I get stuck in confusion.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know you’ve had more than your fair share of suffering too, Jennifer. I’m glad it’s made you more compassionate instead of bitter. I’ve seen it happen in either direction with people.

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