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Sadder Than Thou

Posted by Kragghle , in Wisdom Oct 05 2012 · 188 views

:kaukau: People like to brag about their troubles. One person mentions how their life has been difficult, and I know first-hand that there will always be someone else who will say "Oh yeah? Well I've got you beat." You had emotionally abusive parents? Well he or she had emotionally and physically abusive parents. Your job had a cruel boss? Well he or she was in the military and had to go through a drill sergeant. You don't deserve to be sad with your life problems because there's someone else in America who is unemployed, yet they don't deserve to be sad because there are probably people in China who have things even worse. Not even sweatshop workers deserve to be sad, however, because Holocaust survivors trump them all.

So nobody sympathizes with one another because everybody thinks that his or her problems are or were worse. People with seemingly lesser problems don't know what they have and they should be grateful. On top of that, they should spend more time sympathizing with those who have bigger, i.e. more dramatic, problems.

That doesn't work. It creates a selfish world. It should matter how extreme someone's sadness is. What should matter is that they're sad. Sad is sad is sad. It shouldn't matter how sad you are compared to someone else; that's a different reality. The point is, either way, that you're not happy. What gives anyone the authority to tell someone else that they don't have the right to be sad? Everyone has the right to be sad when bad things happen. I don't praise depression and angst, but isn't it a good thing that humans can feel solemn when anything, even something fairly minor, is wrong with the world?

So maybe instead of caring about ourselves and our own sadness, we should for once stand with each other. I have reasons to be sad and consider my life a struggle. For different reasons, someone else can say the same thing for herself. With that as a common bond, shouldn't it be a reason for us to come together? Then united we can hope, united we can dream, and some day in our perfect unity we will discover love.


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Great entry, and I agree with you.
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Oct 05 2012 03:24 PM
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Unikitty Tekulo
Oct 05 2012 04:49 PM
Hahaha. Yes, I call that the "pity game." The real excitement, though are the "Pity Olympics" when everyone gets in on the pity party.

I like to chime in occasionally with "Your lives all suck. The end." which normally makes people feel shame for some reason, which leads to more anger and yelling until someone else becomes a parent and slaps the children on the wrist.

The thing is, though, people should be grateful and they should realize that there are indeed other problems outside their own world. However, this isn't something that we should thrust onto other people, especially when they are going through an emotionally trying time (in my experience, people seldom listen to reason when their emotions are not at equilibrium, or rather a state where one has the potential to think clearly with little bias).

I've been through my own troubles and when I was younger I was quiet and antisocial. Other kids would come up to me and ask out of the blue "What's wrong?"

I would reply "Huh? ... Nothing, why?" to which they would say something along the lines of 'you looked sad.'

Pity and sympathy can be a terrible annoyance to others, especially when it is uncalled for. At those moments, I would have nothing particular on my mind, so the sympathy really just spawned a lot of awkward moments.

When something really was wrong, though, I never sought sympathy from others. I hated sympathy; I was sick of sympathy.

Once I got lost in an unknown city when on a family trip when I was young. I was terrified. I thought I'd never see my family ever again and it was such a big moment in my life. Whenever I had an issue to face, I'd think back to when I thought I would lose everything. Then I realized that there are other humans that consider that they have lost everything, or at least far more than I did.

Before everyone wallows in self-pity, they should consider what it would be like to lose everything from basic necessities of life like food, shelter and water to more personal things like their families and friends. The thing is, I was fortunate enough to actually experience this fear first-hand as a child. That doesn't happen to everyone, so not everyone is grateful for that reason.

In other words, it is perfectly normal for people to feel sorrow and melancholy. The thing is, it is not fit for others to wallow in these emotions for too long. People do need to realize that there are greater misfortunes in the world, yet they also need to make peace with the fact that they themselves are human and will face these hardships, yet despite that ponder their fortune in life for the ability to feel such sorrow to begin with.

If you take a lollipop from a child, the child would cry. Yet, if the child had no lollipop the child would have no reason to cry in the first place because that child has not known the joy of a lollipop. People don't feel sad over nothing; they feel sad because at some point they felt bliss, and that is why they should feel fortunate to feel pain.

(I put what I thought was the most significant part of your post in red. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. --Kraggh)

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IMO everyone has the right to admit that they're feeling bad

Of course, from society's point of view, that's not really possible. We're all expected to be strong, independent and able to solve our problems on our own. In a perfect world, everyone and everything would function properly. But there IS NO perfect world. And there are days, or sometimes even weeks where someone feels bad.

But should the individual keep those 'days of darkness' to themselves, because others wouldn't like to hear about it? I do not think so. Sometimes we all need supporrt, someone to tell us that everything will be better again. And then we all have the friggin' right to seek that support.
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Scanty Demon
Oct 07 2012 03:43 PM
I just want to say:
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That's right I approve this entry.
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IMO everyone has the right to admit that they're feeling bad.

But should the individual keep those 'days of darkness' to themselves, because others wouldn't like to hear about it?

Provided that all people are held to the same standards of independence and respect for others' desires of reasonable isolation, then there ought not to be any issues regarding such a sharing of emotion. When two people wear their hearts on their sleeves, they shall naturally support one another--or at least certainly ought to. Conversely, for one to whine to a man of a stiff upper lip is a transgression against this ideal of mutual respect, for he has never accosted the other with his fleeting emotional troubles. He has recognized and accepted that none wish to hear of his "days of darkness" and has followed this expectation; it is only polite, only considerate, that others afford him this same sympathy of silence. He well deserves it: He has acted as he would prefer to be treated. Being denied such sympathy is disconcerting, upsetting, uncomfortable, and at its base rude.

Hence, it is just as inconsiderate to expect everyone to share your expectations of emotional openness, as it is for another hypocritically to expect that all keep this to themselves. One may feel sorry for oneself as much as one wants, but to confront others with this sorrow, and to expect them to share in one's self-pity, is unreasonable. Those who share their emotions must share others', but those who do not display their burdens need not marvel at others'.
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:kaukau: First, I give obligatory acknowledgment of Felix's approval. Thank you.

Second, to be more specific on how I feel on these complex dynamics of social interaction, I believe that everyone has the right to be sad, but not to each other's pity. As for when we do sympathize with others, 99% of the battle is not judging them, and the rest is making sure that you sympathize with them on their terms.

For me, there are certain tragedies where I prefer to be left alone and I'm just content to know that there are people whose hearts go out to me. I'm sure there are other people who would need a different type of comfort if they were in the saem situation. Whatever the case, it is prudent for those seeking to support those in grief to know what sort of support is necessary, and when you're grieving it would also be nice for you to appreciate the forms of support you receive, even if others handle sadness differently than you (such as with a stiff lip).


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This is sort of why I don't like telling people that I'm sad or complaining about things that upset me; I don't feel that I have the right to. People have enough sadness to deal with without me burdening them with mine.
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