American Proverb

“Worse Things Have Happened to Better People”

The informant first heard this saying from a guest speaker at UVA when she was in college in the 80’s. The speaker was Ilana kloss, a pro tennis player and author. It greatly resonated with the informant and she still uses it to this day. It means that whatever you’re going through, it could probably could be worse. You say it to someone whenever they are feeling bad about themselves (usually not something very serious like a death).

“Worse things have happened to Better people” is meant to keep life in perspective and to help keep one’s own head up. The source for this proverb is a famous tennis player, who has no doubt had tough and frustrating losses in her career. However, at the end of the day she is still a pro tennis player and her life is pretty good despite what she may feel after a difficult loss. This saying helps bring perspective for the good things in peoples lives and to stop one from feeling overly sorry for themselves. It’s telling that it was used by a very successful individual (pro tennis player and repeated by another well off person ( someone econimcally well off and at a prestigious school). This proverb likely reflect the values of successful individuals as a way to remain happy using gratefulness. All in all this quote reflects the gratefulness and the pursuit of happiness by those that repeat it.