Listening to a Ted Radio talk episode Secrets a couple of weeks ago, and one of the speakers said something that struck me.
She said, "There's no such thing as 'harder'. There's just hard."
Now, she was speaking about coming out, a task far, far more daunting than anything most people will face in the martial arts studio or weight room. But the concept applies.
Hard is hard.
How you define hard will depend on you. One person's max effort deadlift is another person's warm up set. But one person's max effort deadlift is just as hard as another person's max effort deadlift...it's a MAX effort.
The same thing goes in martial arts training. If you've been training for a long time, it can be easy to start to think of things that you did as a beginner as being easy, because for you, they now are. For the next beginner down the line, they aren't easy...they are hard. What you, as the advanced practitioner is doing, isn't harder...it's just hard.
The point of this isn't to have a semantic argument about relative levels of hardness (though I'm sure we could go there). It's to provide a reminder for all of us that, when someone says "this lift is really hard" or "this kick/punch/drill is really hard", not to respond with "well, this other lift/kick/punch/drill is even harder". We don't need to try to one up each others suffering or struggles.
If something is hard, it's hard. What you're doing may also be hard. That's fine. Hard is hard. Respect and praise the effort, and move on.