My girlfriend was complaining about her struggle with weight control. She’s slightly heavier than she’d like to be, maybe 10 lbs. So I reminded her of another friend who’s nearly 100 lbs over-weight, suggesting that she was lucky not to have her problem. I was trying to give her some support. She didn’t appreciate the effort.
Instead she said, “When you were struggling in your marriage, did hearing about another relationship that was even worse help you? Did it solve any of your problems?”
“No, but it made me feel lucky that mine wasn’t that bad. It made me feel like I should be grateful for what I had,” I replied.
“Right, but it didn’t make you happy. It just helped you cope with living unhappily ever after. It solved nothing and comparing me to someone who’s morbidly obese doesn’t help me either.”
She was right. If anything, I was telling her to settle, to be complacent. We shouldn’t do that. If we really want to support our friends we should encourage them to become the best possible versions of themselves. We should push them toward their dreams, not hold them back.
Misery shouldn’t love company…it should run from it.