It's Time We Stop Comparing Bad Experiences

These days, people are more open about their past traumas and mental health than ever before.

While this is amazing and fantastic progress for a culture that has pretty much always preferred suppressing these things and keeping them hidden where they'll open be left to eventually burst out of the surface, it can also lead to a few bad behaviors. One of these that you may have noticed amongst your group (or been guilty of doing yourself) is comparing bad experiences. Trauma seems to have become a form of currency, with everyone trying to one-up one another when it comes to bad experiences in life, rather than simply offering sympathy and open ears. So, why is this so bad, and what can we do to change it? Well, it starts with us.

Why Do We Do This?

Bad experiences are just that, bad. Why, then, do we act like it's the bad things we've gone through that are more brag-worthy than admitting that parts of our childhoods were actually super enjoyable, full of love or even privileged? Because as a society, we're addicted to the idea of a comeback story—a life glow-up, if you will.

We've all heard stories of celebrities who grew up in bad situations or spent years struggling to make it who are now Hollywood superstars living in multi-million dollar mansions. While this is something to be celebrated, so is simply having grown up happy and healthy with a loving family! Everyone is different, and so are their life experiences. The same way it's not okay to compare your beauty to someone else's (especially if that person comes from an entirely different background, etc.), it shouldn't be okay to compare the bad things you've been through to those of someone else.


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What's the Best Move Forward?

Instead of comparing bad experiences and trying to constantly one-up one another, it's time to switch to empathy. Empathy is a healthy emotional reaction to someone sharing their pain, worries or past trauma—one that says "I'm so sorry, I know what you're going through/what you mean because I've been through something similar. It's okay to deal with this however you need to and I'm always here to listen when you need." The conversations can look different, from the struggles of growing up poor to watching parents go through a divorce and so much more, but empathy is always a better response than something that comes off as, "Tell me about it, I had it so much worse when…"

Shutterstock: Three pretty friends having a serious conversation

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When in doubt, there's nothing better than simply being an open and eager listener when someone decides to open up about their pain, and you can only hope that they would be ready to do the same for you. It's best to keep an open mind and respond with comfort and positivity when possible.

Shutterstock: Young woman  empathetic with working friend. The woman hand touch friend shoulder for empathy. Two young woman sitting on the stair case outdoor with laptop for working, empathy concept

(via Shutterstock)


With that said, though, toxic positivity is certainly a real thing. To avoid that, simply click HERE to learn more about this concept and how to avoid it.