Someone Always Has it Worse Than You

Someone Always Has it Worse Than YouAm I the only one that feels traumatized by the derecho?

Just scrolling social media, I see a lot of people feeling overwhelmed or sad.  There was an unexpected feeling I noticed too: guilt.

It seems a lot of us in Cedar Rapids are feeling guilt for many different reasons.

Some of us got our power back right away. Maybe you did not have as much damage as your neighbor, or you bought a generator, were able to spend a few nights in a hotel, etc.

As I continued to scroll, I saw pictures of families living in tents, posts from parents panicking about how to feed their kids, a heartbreaking story about a dog believed to have had a heart attack from fear during the storm, and the list goes on.

After seeing all those posts, I (wrongly) decided I was not allowed to feel any kind of negative emotion related to the derecho.

So many others had it worse than I did.  I told myself that it did not matter that the storm hit at a time that I was already overwhelmed with how much was on my plate.  Or that the last couple of years for my family felt like trauma after trauma.  How dare I feel sad when people were out there homeless and starving?  Although we had some shingles missing, I had a roof over my head and food to feed my family. My pain was not valid.

Yet every day during my toddler’s nap, I found myself sitting on the couch in my 82 degree home, staring out the window at the piles of trees in my neighborhood, sobbing. I would remind myself again that people had it worse, so I needed to stop crying.  I would turn back to social media in an attempt to numb my feelings.

Then I started to see posts from people that I thought didn’t have it as bad as me COMPLAINING.  How dare they? Why did they deserve to feel that way and not me?

For as long as I can remember, I have put everyone’s wants, needs, and feelings ahead of my own.

In times when I was living in survival mode, I would begin to spite those around me for not pitching in.  I assumed that they did not have as much on their plate as I did. I continued to live in this cycle of trying not to feel and then getting mad at others for feeling. Then one day, I ran into this quote and my perception completely changed:

“Maybe you think someone doesn’t have a lot on their plate compared to you.  But maybe their plate is smaller than yours and doesn’t have a lot of room to begin with.”

Here’s the thing: we all came into the world with a different sized plate.

It’s not my responsibility to obsess about what other people’s plates look like; whether they are big or small, full or empty. The funny thing is, there’s no way for me to actually know what your plate looks like. So we could spend our time assuming about other’s plates, or we could take a good long look at our own plate.

This year has been a doozy for all of us.

I’m not telling you to only worry about yourself and never help others.  Rather, I am giving you permission to feel whatever you need to feel about your own circumstance with no guilt attached.

Someone always has it worse than you. Be kind to yourself anyway.

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Alex is a former cook and culinary arts graduate turned stay at home mom to her sweet heart warrior toddler, Wyatt. Alex moved to Cedar Rapids almost 10 years ago after graduating from UNI where she met her husband. While awaiting her husband to return home from his first deployment, she stays busy by having dance parties with Wyatt, taking her two dogs on long walks, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, reading, and watching reality tv.