You are not alone in your struggle, we all face hardship.
Have you ever faced personal hardship and thought, why am I the only one who struggles and everyone else has this wonderful life? I know I have. People who are struggling with day to day pressures of life, depression, anxiety, family relationships etc tend to feel alone and that they’re the only ones doing it tough. When struggles consume your mind and you see other people smiling and laughing, it’s often hard to see that anyone else is suffering also.
When we struggle alone (and especially if we don’t speak out or seek advice), we begin to create a false belief that we’re the only one that is hurting and everyone else has this grandiose life and gets it so easy. In more recent times social media has exacerbated this belief because, most if not all people, only reveal the ‘great’ days and the wonderful moments they’re having. And if that’s all we ever see of a person’s status, we make false conclusions based on only what they’re showing us. We assume that ‘they’ must have it all together. Even though it could be the very opposite of what’s really going on.
I know first hand that there are people on Facebook who present an amazing life. A life so great that at times I question and compare my own life against it. Yet when I speak to them personally, they present a life that is the COMPLETE opposite of what they portray. So it’s important to not always judge or make an assumption based on the status of their Facebook posts.
The reality is, we ALL struggle at some point in our lives. No one on the planet gets an easy ride from start to finish. It’s not all smooth sailing for anyone. Some people like myself, may have experienced many struggles and issues early on in life. Some people may have a great run and then experience a series of events. At some point though, we all go through something that hurts like hell and challenges us to grow and changes us in a way that means we can never go back to the way things were.
But it’s not an easy thing to believe, when we don’t see everyone in their raw emotional state behind closed doors. Because when we face the outside world, most people pack it all away and only show their ‘brave’ face. Or when we pass people we know in the street, they answer questions generally, not giving any depth to the hell that’s going on internally. So a false illusion is created that ‘people’ are ok and I’m not.
It’s important to remember also that everyone deals with things very differently. Some are very private and only reveal or deal with things behind closed doors and with a few select people, whilst others like myself, are very external and expressive about life’s challenges and don’t mind sharing or expressing their difficulties. It doesn’t change the struggle or the intensity of it, whichever way you deal with it.
So if people don’t give up this information freely, how else do we challenge this false belief?
For me, I found the best way to change this false belief was to read. Reading about other people’s lives and their stories helped me to know and understand that everyone struggles at some point. That we all have issues to deal with. It connects us all as human beings with many emotions, with many stories and with many ways to heal.
When you hide yourself away with your problems you’re only ever listening to your own story, your own problems. You’re not getting any insight into how others have coped and what strategies they used. You’re not getting an insight into their raw feelings and emotions and this isolation can leave us feeling overwhelmed and full of despair and feeling like there’s no way out.
So do some research into the lives of people you admire, perhaps in the public arena. Look for people who have a story to share that’s similar to yours and find out about this person; their struggles, their pain, their strategies and what helped them through. Talk to people you know and trust and can be completely honest with, that wont judge you. Ask them if they have ever been through hard times and what they did. Perhaps they have a wealth of knowledge, resources, advice. Perhaps they’re even happy to share their struggles to aid in their own healing.
Understanding that you’re not alone is a crucial element on the road to healing. Knowing this, gives you hope that you can recover. It helps you to understand that we all feel pain and we handle it in different ways. This knowledge keeps us from feeling isolated and avoids the fear that there’s something ‘wrong’ with us.
Talking about what’s going on for you is also another powerful and incredibly healing strategy. There’s so much power and comfort in sharing and being open to talking about our struggles. As a society in general I think we still have a long way to go before this is widely accepted, but there are many people out there like myself who are willing to open up about their trauma, or their struggles, in the hope that it helps other people through their own recovery.
So know that you’re not alone. Know that absolutely everyone around you has faced hardship in more ways than we probably realise. And you’ll discover that if other people can recover through the hard times that it’s absolutely possible for you also.
Lifeline is also available 24 hours a day. Ph: 131114. Lifeline is an invaluable FREE support line.
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