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A lesson: Don’t Compare Your Troubles

February 20, 2014

I was at a coffee shop, talking to the woman who ran the place and is a friend of mine, who has survived a recent bout of cancer, when a woman at the counter inquired, “You had cancer too?”

“Yeah, twice.”

“I was watching this tv show and this guy was on, and he said if you compare yourself to others who have worse problems, your problems don’t seem so bad.”

“Well, that’s kinda self-centered. In cancer, you don’t compare yourself to others to feel better about yourself, you feel for their problem and see if there’s some way you can relieve it, or help. You think of yourself less. It’s kinda fun. You know, you look around at everyone. They’re alive. It’s like going up to a fireplace and warming your hands to talk to them.”

“I like that, a fireplace, that’s why you’re a writer.”

“Well, it’s true. When you walk into a room and there’s no fireplace, the room is cold, there’s nothing there. It’s the same thing to me seeing people around you.”

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