Teddy Bear sitting on a log

I want to let all of you out there know….you are not alone. In anything you are dealing with. We feel that way a lot because we don’t see other people struggling. We feel that way a lot because we are making changes in our lives and the people around us are starting to fall away.

When we’re out and about, most of the people around us seem to have this life thing figured out. Even if you asked them, most wouldn’t admit that they don’t. They would be afraid that, if they say anything, then their carefully crafted world around them might crumble. (They are partially right, but this might not be a bad thing.)

 “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick

When I first heard this quote, I had an ah-ha moment. It made something click in my brain, and it helped me to finally understand that we see what people want us to see, which is normally their best. When we post pictures on Facebook or Instagram, they are normally the best pictures from whatever we’re doing. They aren’t often the pictures of our missed attempts or our complete failures.

Even those people we’re close to can be very good at hiding things. They can act like they have it all together when we’re with them, and then crumble when they are alone.

For some people, it’s even deeper than that; they don’t seem to be struggling because they can’t even admit to themselves that they are. If they admit it, then they would have to deal with the feelings, emotions, and circumstances that are causing them issues, and they don’t want to do that.  

All of this has the effect of making us feel like we’re the only ones struggling with anything.

We feel bad about ourselves because everyone around us seems to be sailing through life without a care, and we feel like we’re swimming without a boat at all.

I have a friend was going through a really hard time. One day she said to me, “I’m not supposed to be this sad for this long”. I asked her why she thought that. She said, “Because no one else that I’ve seen go through this is”.

Most people that are going through something put on a mask when they are out in public. They don’t show anyone what they are feeling inside. Also, unless we know these people well, we are only seeing a snapshot of their lives. We may be seeing them on a good day, when every other day before that they were in a puddle on the floor.

We feel alone in our anxious thoughts, our depressive thoughts, our feelings of overwhelm. But if we are all being honest and transparent, we are all dealing with something, or have dealt with something.

Over my lifetime, I have dealt with anxiety, depression, overwhelm, feeling left out, and feelings of being completely useless as a productive member of society. I go through periods of self-doubt off and on just like most people do. The biggest thing that helped me out of all of these rough times was someone else reaching out and telling me that I wasn’t alone, that they had gone through the same things and had made it out.

So I’m here to tell those of you who are still in the thick of things, you are not alone. It will get better. I know it doesn’t seem that way right now, but it will.  

Two teddy bears sitting in a field

The other good news is, those trials and tribulations that you’re going through, that you’ve gone through, you can use those to help others who are going through the same things.

There are others out there who feel just as alone as you do. Knowing that we aren’t alone, and seeing a way to use our pain to help others, helps us to deal with it a little more easily. We don’t feel like we’re going through all that we are for nothing.

People may not tell us exactly what is going on, but they may give us clues. We can also encourage people without having to know a thing about them. Give them a smile, you don’t even have to say anything. Give them a kind word, even if they are being rude. (How many times have you been rude to someone because you weren’t feeling your best that day or at that moment?)

You have the power to help people, to let them know they aren’t alone in the world either. Find your unique way of doing so, and do it. Don’t wait until you feel better or until you think you’re ready. Use what you have available to you now to get started. If all you can manage is a smile, smile at everyone around you. If you can create art that makes people smile, do that and post pictures of it or give it to those around you. Do whatever you can, with what you have now.

Reaching out to other people, even in small ways, will help them. It will also help us to feel better about ourselves and the world around us. If we help others it allows us to step outside of our own worries, fears, and problems for a little while. It gives us the opportunity to see the world in a more positive light. If we can’t find what we seek in the world, we can create it.  

Some will say, “but no one did that for me when I was down”. Even more reason to do it for someone else. You know how it feels to be left alone in your pain with no one beside you.

Some will say, “I can’t, I’m scared”. Try it. Start with baby steps. I’m not suggesting that you become a socialite overnight, or ever really. Start with what you have. Draw smiley faces on a bunch of post it notes and place them all around your room. Put them in places that others will see them. Write the words, “You are not alone in your struggles”, on a post it and place it where people who might need it will see it. Maybe you could put one on a bathroom mirror.

Anything we can do to help those around us is a step in the right direction. Hopefully something here will give you the ah-ha moment that I had when I read that quote. Then you can take that moment and give it to someone else who needs it.