It’s All Relative

As I’ve covered over and over, people treat blindness like a life sentence, complete with misery and woe. It’s not an easy life, there’s no doubt, but it’s not a sea of bitter suffering, either. The misconception that my life really is that burdensome, though, tends to dissuade people from sharing their own suffering with me, as though my disability renders their own struggles meaningless by comparison. Even those who are close to me, and know full well that my life is mostly happy, need occasional reminders that they are free to share their problems with me, no matter how minor they might seem next to mine. Just the other day, my sister was about to tell me about something that was troubling her, when she stopped mid-sentence: “I feel so guilty! My life’s so easy. You have it so much harder. What am I doing complaining?” I took that opportunity to reiterate that everyone’s situation is different, and that pain is relative.

We all have unique issues to deal with, and what might be an insufferable load to carry for one person is but a light affliction for others. A problematic work situation might bother me less than someone else because I’m so grateful just to have a job in the first place. Chronic pain, however, is a thorn in my side, while others handle it with grace and pluck.

I, like so many others, had to learn the hard way that those with the hardest lives are the most willing to listen to my own difficulties. They give the best advice, and often provide welcoming ears and broad shoulders. Since I am so well acquainted with trials and tribulations, the last thing I’d do is devalue someone else’s. I’d look with shame and scorn on someone who tried to use blindness—or any disability, really—as a way to dismiss and silence another’s feelings. No amount of personal pain should make light of another’s. It’s worth knowing our limits, and being candid when we cannot be there for someone else right at that moment, but we must keep life in perspective. We are here to support one another, after all, and insisting that my blindness, mental illness, and chronic pain somehow invalidate the complaints of others is not only ludicrous—it’s dangerous and supremely selfish.

So, if you ever find yourself shying away from unburdening yourself on my shoulder, remember that it’s all relative, and that my pain has nothing whatever to do with yours. All it ought to do is create deeper understanding between us, and it demands that I show the same compassion as others have shown to me. Unburden away!

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2 thoughts on “It’s All Relative

  1. Pingback: Though disabled in the eyes of society able to do great things | From guestwriters

  2. well written Meagan! for some of us, it can be very easy to dismiss or trivialise issues such as mental illness, anxiety and depression but it’s often because we don’t have a clue about it because we’ve never had to deal with it. On the subject of sharing when it comes to confiding to somebody about problems, I myself have often chosen to keep any personal issues to myself not just because I hate dealing with my emotions but also because there is often a rule that I’ve often been told to uphold when it comes to personal issues happing at home. What’s sad at home stays at home works in theory but if it’s an issue that is really eating at you and you’re not concentrating because of it the only choice you really have is to talk to someone about it. Another reason I don’t share much or seek counciling is because back in 2004 when I was seeing a councillor about some issues I was having my visiting teacher once told me that the reason this person wasn’t my councillor anymore was because the things I was telling her caused her to have a nervous breakdown which I questioned this because I knew it was a lie. and if I’m ever upset I never want the other person to become upset as well as I’ve probably noticed long ago and feel free to correct me on this but crying is sometimes contagious my mother once made the mistake of assuming that depression didn’t exist and that it was all in the mind but she was wrong about that I had to tell her that it did exist.

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