Want to feel better about your day?

Within one 24 hour period last week:

  • Our dishwasher broke
  • Someone illegally charged my American Express card twice
  • Our laundry room flooded as a result of a major HVAC leak
  • I erroneously received a bill from the state government for $15,000
  • Our laundry room flooded a second time after the technician’s first “repair” didn’t work
  • My wife backed our car into a steel pole rushing to get our child to camp after our carpool partner canceled at the last minute. Causing $6,000 in damage – one month before we were turning in the lease.

You read that correctly, that was all within 24 hours. 
So how is your day?
If  you are suddenly feeling a little better about your problems, you’re experiencing Social Comparison Theory – our natural tendency to compare our success, failures and situation to others.
Nearing the end of my own disastrous day, I learned that a friend’s father had died and was reminded of other friends whose children were battling serious diseases.
My issues instantly felt minuscule by comparison.
When problems mount, we often also feel helpless. Which is why another strategy is simply asking for help.  This was not my first instinct – as evidenced by my disassembling the dishwasher and being no closer to fixing it two hours later. 
While asking for help is easier said than done, I was fortunate that, after six phone calls, all of our problems were “moved off my plate” and now in the hands of others to resolve.  We were fortunate to have the right connections to repairmen, the right financial and insurance companies and, of course, the time, flexibility and financial resources to deal with everything swiftly. I recognize this is a luxury we have that many other may not.
Finally, all of this unfolded while I was supposed to be spending the day with my seven year old as part of what she called, Daddy Camp.  Each time, I grew frustrated by a phone call with more bad news, there was she was smiling at me, waiting for our next activity.  At one point, we were walking to lunch holding hands and she asked and answered.  “Do you know what my favorite part of today is?…Every part!”  

An instant reminder that waiting beyond every problem is someone whose needs and love exceed our own issues.

So maybe the next time you or someone you know is having “one of those days”, consider asking:
How is your day… compared to others?
Is there anyone we can call for help?
Is there anything you can do to be the best part of someone else’s day?

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