If you know me, you know I try to be considerate of everyone I meet. If you really know me, you know I try to find beauty and joy in each day.
And if you really, really know me, you know I get nervous around people I don’t know, anxious with confrontation, and that I struggle with my own sense of self-worth. As in, really struggle. That there are more days than I’d like to admit when I wonder what my purpose is for being here.
I’ve been working on opening up more about this, on putting a name to the shadow as a means of identifying it as just that – a shadow that can be banished by the light.
In admitting my own fears, what I’ve found is that there are so many of us out there. So many of us who are uncertain, and maybe a little scared, and maybe a little sad, and fighting demons of loneliness and self-doubt.
In fact, based on the responses I’ve had, I’d venture to say that it may even be a large percentage of us.
By opening up about my own uncertainties, other people have felt more comfortable talking about theirs.
And guess what?
There are lots of us.
Which means two things.
First, there is something wrong with the messages we, as a society, give to each other about vulnerability and sadness.
We’re not “supposed to” be scared or lonely or anxious; we’re “supposed to” be tough, and smart, and happy, and self-confident, and completely comfortable both in a crowd and being alone – and so we all cover up our “weaknesses.” Which only compounds the impression of being the only one struggling with these thoughts and emotions.
Second, that we are not alone. So many of our friends and loved ones often feel the same way, but we’re all hiding it, trying to be tough.
Often, people say that the hardest thing is feeling so alone, like there is no one out there who feels the way they do, who understands what they are going through. But so many of us feel that way.
Your “alone” might feel different than my “alone,” but for both of us, it can be soul-wrenchingly aching, bone-deep painful, and sometimes creates a curtain of bleakness that shrouds the view of the future. It can make it extremely difficult to look forward to the coming days.
But it’s lying.
There is hope in the future.
There is light in your life.
There is joy yet to be had.
I saw a challenge in which a person identifies one word to focus on, one word to try to live for this year. If there is a word that resonates with you, that helps you meet the challenge of another day, I encourage you to focus on that. Let it become your mantra. Let it be your reminder, when things get hard, that you are not alone, that you are stronger, and that you will make it through. Post it on your bathroom mirror and on your car visor and on whatever you look at at work. Flood your environment with it to continually lift you.
If there is not a word that helps you, I invite you to share the word I’ve chosen:
Believe in your own worth.
Believe in the beauty of your unique soul.
Believe in the unfathomable greatness of your heart.
Believe in the very real magic and value of your presence.
Believe in the brilliant light that is your future.
Believe that you are never alone, no matter what the shadows might try to tell you.
And believe that you, one-and-only, amazing you – believe that you have a purpose and a reason for being here.
May you have a beautiful and blessed 2018.