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In the Wake of Newtown, Your Problems are Still Problems

How many times have you stopped yourself in the last week and said: I shouldn’t be upset/angry/happy because the people in Newtown are really suffering?

Years ago I was caring for my sick husband. Emotionally drained, I needed some support. I reached out to one of my closest friends and her words strike me today just as they did then. She said, “Well he isn’t as sick as our friend, Jennifer, who is battling cancer.”

There is a danger in comparing your pain or happiness to others. What if you call a friend to share good news? You say, “I got a promotion at work. I am now a Manager!” Your friend says, “Well it isn’t as great as our friend Kate who was just promoted to Director.”

This is the result of comparing our pain, our successes and our lives to those of others. What is painful for you, happy for you, important to you, must remain so.

And this translates to parenting. You want to raise a child that feels great about herself when she does her personal best, not when she does better than the girl next door.

So the next time you scold yourself for being bummed about something because: “It isn’t even close to what the parents in Newtown are going through,” remember that before Newtown there were horrors and atrocities and people suffering all over the world. And you weren’t comparing your life to theirs.

Because it isn’t how a happy life works.

So let’s commit to not compare ourselves to the Jones Family in good times or bad. Feel the pain, feel the happiness and above all, feel grateful for what you have. If there is anything to personally change in the wake of Newtown, it is to feel, enjoy and appreciate the little things every day, the moments. Then when a tragedy hits, you aren’t the one saying that this brought you back to reality, to what is important.

Don’t let tragic events pull you closer to the wonderful life in front of you. Pull yourself there in moments each day.

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