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Further reflections on the myth of having it easy

Upon what basis can we say that one person has it easier than another?

Typically, such claims arise out of an observation in which, relative to some specific issue, one individual or group of individuals is seen to encounter less challenges than others.

For instance, a person who owns a car would appear to have an easier time getting around than a person whose options are limited to walking. It seems to be not only self-evident that the former has an easier time than the latter, but it would also seem outright cruel to deny that fact.

What is left out of the above analysis, however, is the plethora of other factors that can constitute difficulty or ease for a person.

We have not yet discussed their childhood or their past traumas. We have not yet discussed their quality of education. We have not yet discussed differences in gender, ethnicity, or physical appearance and the advantages or disadvantages that come along with those. We have not yet discussed any addictions, allergies, or other ailments that may complicate life for them. We have not yet discussed the quality of their relationships with family. We have not yet discussed their support networks of friends and colleagues. We have not yet discussed their fears, insecurities, and personal weaknesses.We have not yet discussed their ability to process their emotions and cope with everyday stress. We have not yet discussed their personal philosophies and the burdens or benefits that accompany their worldviews.

We have not yet discussed many of the very things that could completely alter our perception of who is and who isn’t suffering.

Do we NEED to discuss those things? I hope not.

I hope that we can be skeptical enough to subject our assumptions to rigorous scrutiny whenever we feel inclined to put ourselves on a pedestal that elevates our hardships above the hardships of others.

Is it possible that some people really do have harder lives than others? Maybe. Maybe not.

Here are the questions that are important to ME:

Are any of us ever in a position where we actually know enough about other people’s lives to make judgments about whether or not they’ve paid their dues?

Is it ever possible to know all there is to know about the private sufferings, the secret compromises, the unseen obligations, and the unknown sacrifices of others?

Is it ever possible for anyone to truly win when we stand on our soapboxes of martyrdom and attempt to be each other’s judge of how much the other has suffered?

Is it possible for us to evolve, individually and collectively, if we choose only to love and learn from those who meet our personal standards for having suffered enough?

Is it possible for us to get the most of out life and give the most back to life if we spend our time being jealous or nasty towards those who “have it easy” in our eyes?

I certainly don’t think so.

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

To read “The Particularity of Pain”, click here.

To read “Does everyone else have it easier than you”. click here.

To read “Does Paris Hilton have an easier life than you? Who gets to decide?”, click here.

This Post Has 15 Comments
  1. I LOVE this post! So true, true, true. How much more humane,respectful and empowering our world would be if we would remember how much we don’t know about the variables affecting others as we compare, question, advise and judge.

    1. Thank you, Ran 🙂 I agree. Acknowledging our ignorance is the key. EVEN IF our negative judgments are correct, if we were truly honest with ourselves, we would realize that, in most cases, we don’t know enough information to make the judgment call.

  2. Reblogged this on Ran The Gauntlet and commented:
    Wisdom, discernment, accountability. Terms tossed around but often not applied in the heat of the moment when advice is being given. By anyone, not just Christians. Having been hammered this week by a (formerly) very good Christian friend (studying to be a Pastor) as I attempt to make decisions that are fracturing me and torturing others as they wait on me, this really resonates. How much kinder our world would be if we would know that we don’t know it all, and maintain respectful humility as we interact with others, especially when we are in a position to impact their lives with our judgments and advice!

  3. These are great questions…I often don’t think of answering them as I move through my day with all kinds of unconscious judgements. I know what it feels like to be judged by others, so it’s convicting to remember that I do the same thing, even without realizing it.

    Viktor Frankl wrote about this very topic in his book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. He related it to his fellow prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp. Have you read it? From the little bit I’ve read on your blog, I think you’d get a lot out of it.

    Thanks for the reminder to not judge. ‘Walk a mile in someone’s shoes’, right?

    So easy to forget.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Lori 🙂

      I’m a huge Viktor Frankl fan. “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of my dearest teachers.

      By the way, I have to remind myself quite often to keep on questioning.

      Cheers 🙂

      TK

  4. Hi, a good follow up to yesterday’s post.

    We should not feel the need to judge whether someone has “paid their dues”. Who is setting the standard for “sufficiency of dues” anyway? Who is setting any of the standards we judge by? The answer is a simple one, WE do, based on OUR own perceptions and conditions.

    George Carlin once said: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” Can you see the analogy?

    Becoming non-judgemental has a great benefit, it liberates one from this anger and jealousy, which in turn leads to general positivity, a better existence for oneself and all those that are within the sphere of one’s contact. That is what constitutes evolution.

    1. Great response, justbeingzen. Add on to your thoughts and George Carlin’s comment about the “maniac” and the “idiot.” I see two words (at least) that can apply to the same behavior, depending on point of view. Examples: Aggressive vs assertive; boring vs peaceful; passive vs patient; beaten vs humble. I’m not talking antonyms. Just that we have a choice to put a positive or negative spin on anything, even in our own heads, depending on the word we choose to describe it. How relaxing to suspend judgment. Diane

    2. Thank you and thank you.

      You are right about the subjectivity of the standards we use. Our judgments are simply concepts which only have their meaning in relation to one another.

      Awesome Carlin quote too. He’s the man!

      1. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. But I was super thankful simply from the amount of Thanksgiving based posts from fellow writers, inspiring more reflection on the blessings we have in our lives. More importantly how was your Thanksgiving??

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