indulge or ignore?

we all have problems. some of them are significant, others are not. and while most of us are self-absorbed enough to think that even the pettiest of our problems are truly significant, there are times where our “problems”, though seemingly (to us) of life and death importance, are truly nothing but petty and negligible issues that we should not take so seriously.

but at times, we just can’t help it. after all, the seriousness of one’s own problems is relative, right? it’s easy to see someone else’s problems as less important compared to your own, but depending on that person, their problem may actually be of great significance…to them. just because you don’t find something important, does not mean that someone else won’t. we are all entitled to our own opinions.

of course, there are the general, objective issues that we would all agree to be serious problems (poverty, abuse, war, death, life-threatening illness, etc.) and when we look at our own problems in light of the world’s greater, more tragic circumstances- problems that actually matter and take a lot of effort to deal with – suddenly, our issues don’t seem so great.

therefore, it is then that we must decide what to do about our problems, as well as the problems of others. we all have had one person in our lives that comes to us – constantly and incessantly – dramatically spewing out his/her huge, massive, horrible predicaments that, to them, are of the utmost importance. at times, it is somewhat reasonable to indulge these individuals. everyone can benefit from a good listener and a shoulder to cry on.

but when does this indulgence become detrimental to that person’s well being?

in some cases, it is best to ignore the petty problems that this person may bring up. to take it a step further, it is also helpful to that person to explain to them why you are no longer going to indulge their pity parties because you know it will not benefit them in the long run if you continue to do so. tell them to get some perspective and realize their lives really aren’t that awful as they may think they are.

and of course, there is no better person to point the finger at than myself. i know that i am often guilty of this behavior, expecting indulgence for my petty problems – but fortunately, i have been blessed with honest, firm, caring friends who are willing to ignore and resist indulging my problems, because they know that fueling that fire will just add to the unhealthy behavior itself.

what it all comes down to is perspective. getting perspective is one of the most beneficial things to do when struggling with any minor (or even major) crisis. and not only can we get perspective for ourselves, but we can do our part to help others get perspective when they seem to be having trouble getting it themselves.


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