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.
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.