It's amazing how comforting "I know exactly what you mean" can feel. What a relief it is to know that whatever you're struggling with is completely normal.
Because before that, it's really lonely.
You convince yourself that other people have things more figured out than you, wouldn't have made the mistakes you did, or are so much better than you are at this.
Moms berate themselves for letting their children eat takeout, or for missing the freedom they enjoyed before their families: I am a Bad Mother.
Partners think they failed because this relationship isn't what they wanted it to be: I am the Bad Guy.
Employees know this a good job, they should be satisfied: There is Something Wrong with Me.
You can tell yourself some pretty mean things. (None of which are true, by the way.)
No matter what is happening, you are not alone.
Someone else has been where you are. Likely a lot of us.
We just don't talk about it. No one wants to point out when we feel something we're not proud of.
Know what else? It always always always feels better once you do talk about it.
If right this minute you told the person next to you, even a complete stranger, the thing you were most worried about or ashamed of, there is a nearly 100% chance of them telling you that they have been there or know someone who has.
Truly, you're not alone. You just convincing yourself you are out of punishment. And that doesn't help anyone.
So here is what I propose:
If you're struggling with something, please share it.
I'm here, and I bet there are three people you can think of off the top of your head who would take your call in a heartbeat.
You'll gain the perspective (and the break!) you're not giving yourself.
They will also feel great. Why? Because it is very likely that you've been there for them before too and they are dying to repay the favor. Really.
If things are going well for you, fantastic!
Please save these words for when you need them, and share them now with someone you care about.
Whether you realize it, or whether she's had the guts to admit it to you, someone you know believes she is alone in feeling what she feels right now.
She needs to hear from you that she's not alone, just like you'll need to hear it from her someday too.