You can’t quantify pain and struggling. What is no big deal to one person can be completely unbearable to someone else. There are all kinds of challenges we all face: divorce, mental and physical health issues, death and loss, money problems, and family struggles. And that’s just to name a few. There is absolutely no way to truly understand how these things affect each individual person. To try to say that one struggle is “worse” or “more devastating” is impossible.
In addition to that, some people disclose these issues and others internalize them. One way isn’t better than the other. Those that disclose do it for various reasons. Maybe they are reaching out for support. Maybe they are trying to help someone else going through the same thing. There could be any number of reasons to share our troubles. On the other hand, those that internalize are doing it for their own reasons. It could be they don’t want to bother or worry those they love. It could also be pride, fear of embarrassment, or just trying to wrap their own heads around it before sharing it with the world.
Sure, there are unhealthy ways to cope. However, unless that coping mechanism is hurting someone else, it is really only the business of the person going through it. More often than not, people sort out that the unhealthy solution isn’t really helping, and they turn to more productive things. You don’t have to tell them what they are doing is unhealthy…chances are they know. (One caveat: If you believe someone you care about is in danger of harming themselves or others, you should definitely try to intervene…just do it with love and compassion.)
The takeaway from all of this is to show compassion and love for everyone you care about, because there are all sorts of pain and struggles, challenges and hardships. They may or may not share all they are feeling with you, but everyone is experiencing something. There is no way to know how strong they are feeling at that moment, or how difficult the challenge is for them. Try to realize that sometimes a sharp word from them might be coming from somewhere nowhere near related to you or having to do with you. If they go off on their own, give them time, but let them know you are there if they need you. Don’t ever think one struggle is worse or than another. They are all hard, and we are all going through something. Let’s give each other a break.