I was recently presented with the opportunity to work with Nestlé® Pure Life® on their Mom's Pure Wisdom/Hydration Movement campaign, and it just seemed like such a natural extension of something I already wanted to talk about... so I jumped at the opportunity!
During a time when my step dad Edd's suffering was at its hardest and ugliest, I remember talking to my mom one day about things going on in my life, and I remember feeling sheepish and hesitant to mention some of what I was struggling with because here she was, watching her husband suffer intensely and ultimately slip away, so what right did I have to talk about my petty "problems?" I said to her, "I know it's nothing compared to what you guys are going through, so..." and she stopped me right there and said something that made a big impact on me. It was along the lines of, "Jenni, I don't want you to feel like you can't tell me what's going on in your life because you feel it doesn't compare to what I'm going through. We all have our own struggles and they are all important, and I never want anyone to feel like their problems aren't big enough to matter because they don't measure up to mine or someone else's."
What she said made an impact on me for a number of reasons, because here she was, someone going through something more excruciating than you can imagine, and she was saying that my problems were important, too, and they were not diminished by the magnitude of hers.
So why am I saying all this? I guess I've been thinking about it a lot lately because, especially here on the Internet, it can be so tempting to belittle others who complain about problems we feel are petty or that aren't as big and bad as our problems or the next guy's problems - believe me, I've been there, done that. "What right do you have to complain when you could be having ___(fill in the blank)__ happen to you?" And there is something to be said for perspective, most definitely. I think we should all consider our blessings before we whine, especially publicly. But my mom, in that moment that she validated my feelings in the midst of her own much "worse" problems, helped me realize that it truly does others a disservice if we act like they have no right to feel what they feel since there are others going through worse things. There will always be someone who has it worse, just like there will always be someone with something bigger and better than what you have. We are all human beings in this life thing together, and we are all learning perspective and coping and strength along the way, whether our problems are big or small in comparison. Just a little something to chew on today, and to remember going forward.
*This post is sponsored by Nestlé® Pure Life® and is part of a campaign to promote hydration (as well as mom's wisdom!). Please be sure and visit the Nestlé® Pure Life® Facebook wall and leave a comment with the hashtag #momswisdom sharing what your mother (or grandmother!) told you and how it has made you a better person. :)
*Thank you to Linquia for the opportunity and ideas!