You’ve had this problem that you’ve dealt with your whole entire life. This problem has negatively impacted, not only you, but thousands of other people. Other people with similar problems get people to help out and fix theirs, and yet somehow millions of people don’t even know what your problem is! You don’t belittle the efforts to help people who have another problem, though, you try to help them too! And finally, after going your entire life witnessing this problem — a group of people are doing something to help fix it! Anyone helping other people with their problems is a good thing.
But, then other people say that your problem isn’t as important as other problems. They, these people who are completely unaffected by this problem, say what you’ve dealt with your entire life doesn’t really hold significance to them. It’s just not that important. Other problems deserve it more.
I don’t care if your problem was anything from a series of bad days to a chronic condition. No one’s problems need to be compared and belittled. If something is finally being solved and your first instinct is to say “Well, but this other thing matters more!”, I honestly don’t know what to say.
I’m trying to be really careful about wording this, hence the overly long hypothetical situation, but it’s hard to be when this is the subject for me.
My dad’s problem was ALS. It killed him about two weeks before I started high school. He was diagnosed when I was a year old, and was completely paralyzed before I could walk. I’ve spent more time in hospitals than at sleepovers and my dad was literally locked into his own body. He couldn’t eat for himself. He couldn’t speak without a speech computer, and he couldn’t even do that in the later months. He couldn’t breathe for himself. He couldn’t hug his kids and he only lived to see one graduate.
Fundraising for a cure didn’t save my dad. But it could save someone else’s. Or someone’s mother, sister, brother, friend, husband, or wife. Or just someone period. It could be you that gets the disease down the line, we know so little that it could be.
I used to tell my mom that other kids didn’t really understand what I went through. That I didn’t care about their parents’ divorce or their fight with their friend and that I didn’t see how that really mattered in comparison to my problems. And her response was what I tried to live by every day since. Everyone goes through terrible things in their lifetime. To them, their issues are just as big as yours are to you. Everyone, in their life, goes through terrible things. Life isn’t a competition for who sustains the most losses and every single struggle matters.
I’m seeing people say it’s not that big of a deal when comparing it to Ferguson or global warming (both causes I’m very passionate about and want to help) and I can’t help but wonder if they would say the same thing if they saw the same things I did. If they saw their father crying because he couldn’t move or because he feared that this was the pneumonia he wasn’t going to live through. If they were told stories about how their dad just wanted to live long enough for you to remember him. If you had to say your goodbyes to someone who probably couldn’t listen.
I highly doubt you could say “Yeah, but it’s not as big of an issue to me and it shouldn’t be getting more attention than X.” then.
Issues aren’t a competition. Please don’t compare things that don’t need to be compared. Help other people regardless of how big you perceive their struggles to be. Do not compare two issues in order to belittle one. Because when you do that, it’s someone’s problems, for me it’s my dad’s death, you’re just casting aside.