Sometimes I check myself for being too much of a Pollyanna. My approach in general is to try to look on the brighter side of things rather than wasting energy on negative feelings and stress. Which is a fine way for me to live my days internally. But when I project that onto other people sometimes, I think that it may be irritating or even a direct source of the kinds of feelings I'm trying to get other folks to avoid.
If someone I know is having a bad day or a tough time overall, reminding them that other people are worse off is not always going to have the effect I'm looking for. I want them to feel appreciative of the good things they have going for them. But really, when someone is venting to you about their crappy deal, they don't want to be cheered up by considering the greater misfortune of others. They want empathy. They want to be coddled and fawned over. They want a rousing show of support. To know that someone has their back. They need to know that their reaction to their problem is valid. Once they have that, oftentimes they move on themselves to finding a way to get beyond the challenge causing such trouble.
That's what friends do. They are supportive, nod their head in agreement and give comforting hugs or pats on the back. And sometimes they bite their tongue to keep from telling their buddy to suck it up and stop complaining about a broken arm when someone else close to you is dying from cancer.
I like this lesson's message. I remind myself how lucky I am all the time. And when I have real struggles I remind myself that it could always be worse. And that maybe the person I'm bitching too is the one that has it worse. And I do us both a favor by keeping my venting to a minimum. I save my real rants for Tedy the cat. He's a very good listener and he's got it made in the shade. I never have to worry that his life sucks more than mine.