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5 Perspectives on Suffering

As I’ve been sitting at home 🏡 during the Covid lockdown , it struck me that comparative suffering #covid19 style has come along. It started with a meme telling me that all I had to do was sit on a couch when I could have been living during WWII.

Here’s what bothered me: 

• Goodness, really? We’re comparing Covid lockdowns to WWII because that serves who exactly? 

• Why did I had to time capsule myself back to WWII when I could also compare me on my couch to someone living or sitting on a couch in Yemen or Syria in 2020? But perhaps I’m overthinking this. 

• Is it not a completely normal thing to express loneliness, grief, anxiety and if so desired even sheer panic when we’re in the midst of a pandemic with dire health-related, social and economic consequences across the board?

Comparative suffering – comparing shit to shit and saying that some shit is shittier than other shit – sucks. It’s also very common. Tell someone random the true nature of your feelings and the odds are quite significant that that someone will find something remotely good in your life that you should be really grateful for.

I made this challenge, graphic style, to print and play with all players of the game ‘Comparative Suffering’. All you have to do is rank, from 1 (most suffering) to 45 (least suffering). Old school on a scrap of paper or type a list on your iPhone. If desired: use a different premise to do different rounds.

If you’ve figured that the concept of comparative suffering is interesting enough to delve further into, I can highly recommend listening to Brené Brown’s talk on this topic on her new podcast series ‘Unlocking Us’ (episode of March 27th 2020, Brené on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth and Settling the Ball). And if you want to go beyond just this topic, I have found many of the episodes on ‘Unlocking Us’ warmly humorous, tremendously insightful and humbling. And how cool is it if we actually learn something from this crisis. And maybe it can be something that invites empathy and compassion instead of smothering them 🤗

#comparativesuffering #covidlockdown #brenebrown #unlockinguspodcast 

#thoughtchallenge #empathy #itsagame #decoratetheelephant 

Decorate the Elephant perspectives on suffering Josine van Asch van Wijck