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Another of Five Epiphanies

Updated on August 7, 2011
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Epiphany #2: There's always someone worse off.

So there was a second epiphany, which is really the first epiphany because it did come to me a long time ago, but this small series of hubs is pretty much written as a stream of consciousness and the epiphanies are coming out in the order I remember them. Sorry about that, but it's just the way I write.

But back to the epiphany. Epiphany #2: there is always someone worse off. It's an obvious one, but it's an easily forgotten one. It used to be that I would probably only think about people in real poverty, living in real horrifically poor and/or dangerous conditions, perhaps only once a year or once every two years when I watched Comic Relief or another telethon. We've all seen pictures of children scavenging for scraps in landfill sites, orphans who are themselves dying of Aids, child carers, victims of so many kinds of abuse. I could create a list the size of a large hub of the people who are less well off than me, of people who have real reason to feel sorry for themselves but very often don't. But possibly when my children grew to be old enough to start to refuse the food I put in front of them I think that something in my mind became a little bit enlightened, or at least learned how to be mindful. I just could not stand for my children to waste food when other children have nothing. Okay, so this is a bit of a blow-my-own-trumpet epiphany: look how marvellous I am that I think of people worse off than myself! Well, let's not get carried away here, I'm not so saintly, I don't give 10% of my earnings to charity, I don't get involved with charities on a useful level. I use this epiphany selfishly, to make myself happier, and I use it to remind myself of how lucky I am to be wanting for nothing. Oh, there are things that I want, but that's not the same thing.

Well, so, reminding myself of people who are worse off is a good way to make me give myself a shake, and stick a smile back on my face. The smile soon becomes a genuine one when I am honest with myself and take a minute to count my blessings, as it were. It's about noticing the positives in my life, as much as acknowledging the hardships in someone else's. We have a tendency, in the West I might suppose, to add up the bad stuff, pile it up, look at it, worry about the size of it, compare it to someone else's pile of bad stuff, stress about the seeming impossibility of overcoming it. But quite often, and I can't speak for everyone of course, if we took the same time to stack up the positives we would quickly find that that pile would be much bigger than the pile of negatives. When you realise that there's more to smile about than there is to cry about it stands to reason that you need to spend more time smiling. Save the tears for people who really need them - which is no-one, because tears don't really solve anything.

Cancer came into my family's life this year. We have all had to watch my mum go through the treatment, as you will know if you've read my hubs on the subject, What I Feel Like Today. It might be at times like this that it's difficult to imagine people being worse off than the person suffering. But it has never entered our heads to feel sorry for ourselves (my mum has felt sorry for herself in chemo weeks, quite rightly!), because we could still see that there are people who are worse off in the world - we still had so much to smile about: the fact that my mum's prognosis was good, and that she was strong enough to fight her cancer, and that she is still alive and kicking now. We've laughed and smiled and been glad all the way through it (apart from those chemo weeks!). We've all had support, because we've all supported each other - people endure cancer alone, so we've been lucky.


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    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Ta very much Michael :) It's easier said than done to remember to look on the bright side when life gets monotonous and crap stacks up a bit. I just feel quite strongly that if we've nothing truly terrible going on in our lives then we should try to make sure that we don't moan and groan about the little stuff - people don't want to hear it! And I know that when I'm having a bit of a gripe about something my friends are probably thinking 'Jeez, shut up and get a life'! It's only a small step to put that voice in my own head, and to get myself to stop whining.


    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 6 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Linda, Just wanted to read another of your epiphanies and you make some great points here. The positives almost always outweigh the negatives. It's just sometimes we choose not to look too hard for them. Really well written in that almost conversational, natural way. Great stuff.

      Cheers. Michael.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      @Keith - and that's the problem right there, is it not? It really is easier said than done, as you rightly say. Unless we've got some annoying person standing beside us all of the time saying 'there are people worse off, so chin up' and so on, we just don't remember those worse off people when we're in the middle of one of our own crises. I often think 'there are people worse off, stop moaning', but stop myself from saying it because I would soon have no friends left!

      @ubanichijioke - thanks so much for reading my hub, and for taking the time to write a kind comment.

      @Mike - no, nothing surprising here, quite right. But it's one of the epiphanies, so it goes in the pot :) I like this sharing, I'm finding it quite cathartic - I'm self-therapising!

    • profile image

      Aka Professor M 6 years ago

      @Lady Wordsmith: While not as unexpected, as the first in this series, Linda, this too shows your graps of the true reality of what it is to be simply, Human!

      Thanks again for being yourself and share with us your readers in such a personal way!

      Voted Up and did the button routine!

      Regards Mike!(Aka Professor M!) ;D

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      You ve stressed on important points and issues of greater concern. I love the way you dished out the points. Be blessed

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Not taking things for granted is easier said than done. We all have to step back for a moment and remember how lucky we are if we have three meals per day, clean water and a roof over our heads. It's nice to know that you are at least contemplating how well off you are and it's great to hear that your mom is in better health. The simple things in life mustn't be taken for granted. Cheers.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Actually RJ, I could have saved myself a bit of time and just written those words: 'everything considered, most of us are doing fairly well' because that just says it all really :) Perfect sentiment. I do appreciate your visit.

      Hello Chris. Well, I'm very glad that you read my little effort here this morning, and that you found it uplifting. Looks like it did the job I intended it to do. Hmm, I wonder what else I could get my hubs to do ... interesting thought.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Now that really is an uplifting article. Thanks. You are so right there.

      The fact that I am typing this positively, about any piece of writing at 0730 hrs on a Monday morning bears out the truth of my words. I rarely appreciate things this early in the morning.

      Keep up the good work.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Yep--everything considered, most of us are doing fairly well. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and beautiful.” I'm always your fan! RJ