Compared to whom?

I think that it’s natural for human beings to compare themselves to others. Many of the things that motivate us come from envy – I want a house like that, a wife like that, a bowel like that.

But it often occurs to me that while we often compare ourselves to the people who have more than we do, it is far more of an effort to compare ourselves to people who have less. I’ve never gone without food for a day in my life, for example, so I’m already better off than millions of people in this world.

But I don’t compare myself to them. I compare myself to my friends who don’t have to worry about stomach pain all the time, or to the pretty people on telly who seem to have everything. Wish I had their intestines, I think. What I would do with a bowel like that.

Just occasionally though I think about comparing myself to the people who have perfect stomachs but actually have bigger problems than I do. There was a girl on telly the other day who had a skin condition which meant that her feet constantly felt sunburnt. She had to have fans at her desk at work just to try to stop the pain. Her feet would swell up all the time and blister, and she’s had it for years and years.

Would that be worse than IBS? Maybe – at least I have whole days and sometimes weeks where I feel fine. And then I read an article about women who were 30 stone overweight and had to have their stomachs stapled and then lost loads of weight and then found out that being slim doesn’t really make you happy.

So the next time my intestines are killing me I am going to try saying quietly to myself “Look, Soph, this is all very unfortunate but you don’t have feet that feel like they’re burning and a staple in your stomach. Buck up, sunshine.”

It might just work.

One Response to Compared to whom?

  1. In answer to the question posed: Compared to everyone you interact with, even those you only briefly encounter once. Personally, I do not find it a consolation prize to be aware that there are people in the world who suffer more than I might.

    I find no comfort whatsoever in the thought that someone else might be plagued with something worse than IBS, as I am doubled over in the restroom desperately trying to survive yet another attack that boggles the mind to know you will in fact, most likely, live through. How, is a mystery to me still, that anyone can possibly experience that kind of intense, excruciating pain and live to tell the story!

    To whom do I compare myself? Anyone and everyone. Those who are in the car in front of me at the drive through, that order a burger, fries and shake and get to eat that. Those who I work with (when I am able to show up to work)that show up everyday and consider being sick, having a cold twice a year. Those at the grocery store who have a shopping cart full of delicious looking goods that they will take home, prepare, eat, and enjoy and not give a second thought over. Do I envy them? No, I simply feel sorry for myself.

    Do I desire to be like them? No. I desire to feel good, to feel secure, to feel ok, and I desire to be free of the restrictions that IBS, by its nature, places upon every person it strikes. Thanks for letting me respond. STAR