‘It could be worse.’ How many times has somebody said this to you when you’re struggling? It is SO annoying! It reveals and highlights a complete lack of actual empathy.
Here are two cases in point.
I’m a mum to two under 4s and the night times have become a battleground. You know how they say we all need 7-8 hours of sleep to function?
Well, I’m actually one of those people who needs 9. Possibly 10. And I’m getting 2, at a stretch, on and off. So sue me, I’m tired. I’m hanging on for dear life, whilst being too god-damn-knackered to hold on properly. I’m slipping. A friend says to me ‘Ah that sucks, but it could be worse’.
Congratulations, it could always be worse. But DON’T SAY IT!
Those four words have just highlighted a gulf between us. They say ‘I don’t get it’ and ‘I don’t care’.
I LOVE being a mum. I am immensely grateful. I am living my dream. But I am human. And I get tired.
Tired = grumpy
Tired = irrational
Tired = if you say ‘it could be worse’ to me right now, I might hit you.
I think people say it when they don’t know what to say. Why not ditch ‘It could be worse’, head to the Co-op and buy a HUGE bar of chocolate (the bigger the better) and give it to your struggling friend, along with a real bear hug. That ought to do the trick.
Second example. As The World We Give Our Children followers, you know my son has a limb difference. He’s one handed. When we first found out (I was 18 weeks pregnant), a friend said ‘it could be worse’. Spoken confidently by somebody who has two hands and no children.
Again, yes, it could be worse. But you’re not the one who feels she hasn’t been able to protect her little boy. You’re not the one whose scared stiff of threatened syndromes. You’re not the one whose got another 20 weeks of fear. Put simply, you’re not the one – you just don’t get it. That’s ok, but don’t pretend you do.
In case you’re wondering, I am not friends with her anymore.
Lets imagine that ‘it could be worse’ is a wet fish. If you hit me with it when I’m happy, I’ll laugh. If you hit me with it when I’m down, I’ll cry.
So people, lets leave ‘it could be worse’ in the manky stinking fishing net where it belongs, and lets go and get a coffee . . . and maybe some chocolate?!