Competing for misery

As I’ve been focusing on the practice of gratitude these last couple weeks, there are some things that I’ve been noticing more than usual. I’ve been eaves-dropping on a lot of conversations lately and the common theme? One-upping misery. What do I mean? It looks something like this…

“I slept terrible last night.”

“Yeah I don’t sleep well most of the time. I run off maybe 3 hours.”

“Oh man, I wish I could get 3 hours! I never sleep at all. I’m a functioning insomniac.”

Why are we competing to see who can be more miserable? Aw, you feel like crap? I bet I can feel worse- let’s talk about it for a couple minutes and I’ll try to out-do your misery. It’s so weird! And yet we all do it. Long gone are the days of one-upping accomplishments- instead, we get caught up in the talk of what is wrong, rather than what is right, and comparing that list to everyone else’s. And I’ve noticed it’s not even complaining. They are just matter-of-fact statements that are somehow supposed to translate to people thinking they deserve a medal for making it through the day in spite of all their problems.

“Look at me slogging through! Super hero status!”

Wha?! This is absurd. We all have problems/difficulties/challenges. Why does it need to be a point of discussion or comparison? It’s one thing to talk to a friend about what is happening to get it off your chest or work through it. It’s an entirely different thing to use it to one-up someone else who is struggling and say that you have more…insert whatever here- pain, illness, loss, etc.

As it happens, I’m the type of person who develops theories for things so I have an idea of how this came about. It is my personal belief that with social media shoving everyone’s accomplishments in our faces, highlighting that perfect 1% of existence, people continually feel inadequate. This feeling breeds a growing need to defend the supposed lack of accomplishment which displays itself through statements of misery. Those statements justify why someone isn’t achieving at the same level as someone else- because their life is obviously so much harder, right? They have so much more to deal with and suffer through and it’s amazing they’re upright and breathing. People are competing to be “less than” and winning at it. What a sad state of things.

I am tasking myself with a commitment to thinking at a higher level. I don’t want to talk about all the ways I don’t feel good. I want to talk about all the things that I am doing to better myself that are working. I want to speak in positivity and health. And I want to watch that thinking and talking bring about even more beautiful and wonderful things into my life. Let’s not compete with each other- for anything. Instead, let’s build ourselves up in such a way that competing is so far beneath us because we know our own worth and don’t have to prove it to anyone.

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