Take Heart

I was having dinner with a friend- both of us still reeling from the sudden death of a mutual friend – when she said this…

“We are surrounded by such strong women and I fear that I deliberately do that so I can hide from the fact that I am not strong at all.”

The thing is, I have always regarded this friend as strong. I clumsily tried to explain that we all feel that way, that the people around us have it all together; when in reality, they are filled with the same doubts and fears as we have. We are all just muddling through and carrying our respective burdens and responsibilities in the best way we can.  I feel like I diminished it by lumping it into an “everyone feels this” category.

She said she wanted to be more because our dearly departed friend was just that. (More) With each passing of dear friends, I make that same commitment to take on the same qualities of the person I have lost in order to be better than I am.  But somewhere down the road, I am just me and it is overwhelming to do what I commit to do.

I can be who, intrinsically, I am with small changes  – but like New Year’s resolutions; those memorial resolutions get lost in the same way.

I don’t think our friend would want us to go changing in an effort to honor her memory. She befriended us for who we are and loved us for all we were.

Comparing ourselves to others by our perceptions is what fuels unrealistic self-expectations which ultimately causes undue self-loathing and stress when we fail to meet our goals.

The phrases,

“I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in”
“I don’t feel like I fit in with anything.”
“I feel like I’m faking it and someday people will figure it out if they haven’t already.”
“I am drowning most of the time barely treading water these days.”
“I am not a nice person underneath it all”
“Do others just perceive me as full of shit?”

These are not unfamiliar sentiments by anyone. We all have these feelings. We have to take heart that the person next to you, or sitting across from you on the mass transit vehicle has thought these thoughts too.

When you’re walking through life and observing those around you who seemingly have it more together than you, take heart – the key word there is “seemingly”.  We don’t know their whole stories as they do not know ours.  What motivates their actions, reactions is fueled by things we do not know, histories and such.  So relax and take heart, just do the best you can in the way that you can.