Competing with Complaints

Have you noticed how, in today’s world, we use descriptive words to present our current state of health? I’m really sick. I have a very bad headache. The pain in my back is extreme; it feels like there is a knife stuck in it and someone is twisting it. People don’t stay away from work because they just have a basic headache. They only miss work if it is a very bad one.

Do we describe our ailments this way because we believe most people are sick or in pain every day so we must ensure that people understand that what we are feeling is beyond the normal day-to-day stuff? Do we use descriptive phrases to try and top someone else’s pain so that we get more sympathy? While very few people have experienced a knife stuck in their back, we get the idea that the pain level is very bad.

Personally, I have found that the more I elaborate on how bad I’m feeling, the worse I feel. It is like announcing to the world you can’t take it anymore. Making this statement does not make you feel revived with life and strength. I think we should be truthful when people ask us how we are doing, but tell them that you know you are going to feel better soon. For example, you could say, “I have a headache but it will be gone after I rest.”

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