Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Comparing Your Problems to Other's Is Not Helping You


“I have a good job and a nice family.  So many people are so much worse off than me. I shouldn’t be depressed and anxious.”

A client said this to me the other day, and I have been thinking about it, ever since.  He is a compassionate person, and he was trying to put his issues into perspective.  But it begs the question – why do some people handle their life’s struggles – however big or small – so much better than others?

My view of psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety, are wrapped much less in the actual problem and much more in the person’s resiliency at the time of the problem.  Have you ever noticed that you yourself are more able to handle what is being thrown at you at certain points in your life?  And then sometimes, even the littles problems stress you out completely?

If we look at a biological, psychological and social situation of a person at different points in their life, we are going to paint a slightly different picture. 

Biologically, there are chemical and genetic factors that affect each person.  That is coupled with changes in hormones at different points of the lifecycle such as puberty, reproductive years, midlife and late life.  Psychologically, our childhood, upbringing and culture color how we view every situation.  And socially, we have and rely on different levels of support as others and also, within our own lifetimes.

While it is admirable to realize our situations shouldn’t be that debilitating based on what others are going through, it doesn’t solve our problems.  It may help keep things in perspective.  But it is more important to realize our own thresholds for stress, loneliness, frustration, and depression at any given time, and address them.  We are all individuals with vastly different needs, and sometimes we need to focus on ourselves to make life better.