It Could Have Been Worse

-It could have been worse . . . -

“Well, it could have been worse.”

How often have you been told this? Or told someone else this? Or even told yourself this?

Life rarely goes according to plan. Often when things get back on track, another road bump comes along to jostle things up again.

I think these things happen to make us grow. God doesn’t want us to remain stagnant in our progression, and unfortunately, adversity is one of the best things to prevent that.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Some might look at my life and think it’s been rather cushy and sheltered. In many ways, it has been.

I have a wonderful husband who I met when I was just 20 years old. We have two beautiful boys that didn’t take a lot of time or heartache to bring into the world. We have a successful business that allows us to work from home and live quite the comfortable life. My parents are still married. I live near family. We’re about to buy our first home. It kind of sounds like the American Dream, right?

Yes, my life certainly could have been worse. I’m grateful it hasn’t been. But it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard at times.

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I think the phrase “it could have been worse” is meant to comfort us. But often, it can prevent us from dealing with things that are hard in an effort to be “tough.”

That’s what I realized this morning.

Last week, we were in a car accident. The car is totaled, I’m pretty sore, my back and neck hurt quite a bit, I ended up with a concussion, and we are all a bit shook up from it.

But it certainly could have been worse. A second’s difference would have made this story quite a bit sadder. But – we are all safe. The car we were driving wasn’t our only source of transportation. We have insurance. And as I’ve processed it all, I keep trying to tell myself it could have been worse. Much, much worse.

But as I did this, I think I was inadvertently processing what did happen. Which resulted in me bottling my feelings and waking up in the middle of the night on the verge of a panic attack.

And all of the sudden, I realized this is what I do with most things in life.

I’m an emotional person. I’m not afraid to say things are hard (as my mom can attest to, as she’s often the recipient of those texts.) But at the same time, I constantly am telling myself “it could have been worse.”

And I think doing that has led to me experiencing a lot of anxiety – because I haven’t allowed myself to fully process the things that were hard. This morning I realized this, and when I did, it felt like I had a weight lifted from my chest.

I was really sick with both my pregnancies. It made them really hard. But at least I was blessed to have a baby. And I never had to be admitted to the hospital. My boys are here.

It could have been worse.

I feel sick a lot. We don’t know why. But all the tests have come back normal, and I’ve basically been told I just will have to deal with it.

It could have been worse.

Oliver was breech for awhile. And when he wasn’t breech, we realized he wasn’t breech any more, we discovered he was IUGR. Fortunately he was born without any major complications, and while he hasn’t had the easiest seven months of life…

It could have been worse.

Both of my boys were admitted to the hospital with RSV – Jack at two weeks, Oliver at five months. It was scary and sad to watch them in so much misery. I felt helpless and never left the hospital room during both those times.

It could have been worse.

I’ve been in four car accidents in my life. One when I was a child. Two when I barely had my license (both my fault). And the one last week. I’m still here.

It could have been worse.

I will probably go through harder things in life, and everything I’ve been through could have turned out worse. And I’m so, so grateful they haven’t.

But it is okay to mourn the hard things that do happen. You don’t have to be tough. Just because others are going through harder things doesn’t make your hard thing less hard. It’s hard for you. It’s okay to mourn.

For me, I think realizing this is the key to helping with my anxiety. I may admit something is hard, but instead of processing it all, I just tell myself to stop acting like its hard. And that doesn’t help       .

So if you are like me, next time you say or here “It could have been worse” add this on the end:

“But this is still hard. And I can cry and be sad and go through the healing stages too. Because just because it could have been worse, doesn’t make this any easier.”

And then actually do that. I’m certainly going to try. I’m not saying we should all sit around in doom and gloom – there are so many things to be grateful for. But I think by fully mourning those hard things in life, no matter the “hardness” level of them, it will allow us to more fully appreciate the good.

-It Could Have Been Worse-


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  • I'm so glad you guys are okay! We had a car accident a year and a half ago and our car got totaled, but nobody was injured. I have had lots of things that I say that to in my life, too, but you're right. Life is hard, and it's okay to acknowledge that and just cry!
  • I love this post Katie and can identify with it on many levels. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, because it gives permission for all of us to mourn our own trials and hard times, then move one when we are ready. So many times we all feel as the way you have so aptly put in words, 'that it could have been worse' and that we shouldn't let anything bother or get us down. That isn't how we are made and we forget that. What a powerful post and so needed. Thank you a million times over.
  • I really love this, Katie! You've made such great points. While it's important not to wallow in self-pity, if we don't admit that we are hurting and bottle it all up inside, that will lead to much more difficulties emotionally. Great post!

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