It Could Have Been Worse

I have a friend who says she doesn’t like counsellors using the phrase ‘it could have been worse’ on their clients.  She makes some decent arguments against it, but they fall short. A lot of opinions and perspectives we have in life are mostly shaped by who or what we are, our unique human experience and exposure to the human condition and study of it.

 

Who or what you are is a summation of all the books you’ve read, all the movies you’ve watched, all the conversations you’ve had, influence by the people you keep company with, places you’ve been to–whether in your thoughts or physically–, experiencing the pains of life (they are inevitable) and sampling enough of its pleasures.

 

The trick is to not let your experiences, personal perspectives and maybe limited knowledge (things you know generally and are aware of, not academic acumen), blind you to other realities and the value of other perspectives. You should keep your eyes open. You should keep your mind open. Embrace the thrill of being wrong and knowing you are wrong. That’s the only way to get to know what you do not know and grow. You can’t acquire new knowledge unless you are ready to leave your ignorance behind. To cling onto limited knowledge is to glorify ignorance.

 

So, yes, it could have been worse. That’s not to belittle whatever you are going through. We all have thorns in our fleshes. I do. The parent who lost an arm whilst shielding her child in an accident? It could have been worse. They both could have died. My friend had a motorcycle accident. Got a lot of scratches and a broken nose. It could have been worse. I’m grateful knowing he is alive.

 

The millions of Jewish children who lost their parents in Nazi death chambers? It could have been worse. Maybe they exterminated all Jews. The countless number of Africans slaughtered in the Belgian Congo? Thank God-King Leopold did not colonize all of Africa. Did you get your heart broken? It could have been worse. Isn’t it good that it happened now as opposed to it happening years later?

 

‘It could have been worse’ has its merits. It isn’t a counselling faux pas. The next time an amateur counsellor throws it at you, don’t storm off. Sit tight and think a little about it. I know you are depressed. I know you are sick. I know you are suffering. I know life has not turned out as you want it.

 

But there are things you have that some people do not have, and one way to get more out of life is to appreciate the little you already have. Zig Ziglar once shared the story of a prisoner of war who was locked up in a dark cell for years. Then one day he sees a small speck of light through some crack. That was it. That was his hope. Worse was total darkness all year round, and here was the light! Better!

 

Keep hope alive. Keep faith alive. No matter how down you are, there are still people you can reach out to, there are still things you have, can do and should be grateful for. Thank God you can read this. Thank God you can breathe unaided. Somebody needs an oxygen tank right now, and we should absolutely fight for that better society and social justice for all.

 

We need you fighting with us. What do you say?

 

Let’s do this.

By Stan Dugah

StantheStoryTeller

07/09/2021

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