I know that we all have of our own demons we fight every morning when we wake up, those dark and heavy parts of ourselves that we can't carry on our own much longer. We are struggling to stay afloat financially, to keep our relationships healthy, to love our families right, to get rid of the job we dread, to kick the bad habits, to start thinking more positively, or to lose an extra 20 pounds by summer.
The list goes on and we heavy-heartedly attempt to carry these personal struggles alone. Our society is filled with escape routes. No longer do we have to be honest and tell people we are struggling. We can let our friends know how we are doing via text. We can put a photo on Facebook of our happy life and hide the tears that came 20 minutes after we took the picture. We can give our family the Christmas presents they wanted, and never let them know how hard it was to come up with that money. We can spend the night at dance clubs and bars, forgetting the reasons we didn't want to get out of bed for the past two weeks. We play the ultimate game of pretend, and think that by ignoring the pain in our lives, we will be happy like the majority of the world.
I'm here to tell you that I don't believe the world is completely happy. I believe the world is full of human life, broken and trying to make up for lost time. I truly think that every person has struggles and that most people are hiding their struggles to feel more "normal." But I believe in a world where "normal" can be real and raw. In this world human emotions aren't looked at as over dramatic, but as an atlas to our own personal happiness.
With all this brokenness, one thing I'll never say is that the world isn't beautiful. I've found in my own life, the more I struggle, the more I see beauty in the world we live in. The more times I see rock bottom, the more bright the simple pleasures in my own life are. The more I cry, the more I want to find every reason to keep laughing. I think being honest about our own personal struggles is the only way to create a society where there is less stigma against those huge dark shadows in our lives. Mental illness, chronic pain, and drug addictions are three of the most stigmatized aspects of the human experience, yet I know that millions are living with these elements in their lives every day, struggling to seem "normal." Let's create a world where we are free to talk about our struggles and free to lift each other up. I created a list of 4 reasons why being honest about our struggles is therapeutic and important.
1. Being honest is liberating
There is nothing more freeing than being open about your personal struggles. Let your struggles come out of the cage you've been locking them up in. Say out loud what you are struggling with. Personally, I fight a mental illness, and the minute I told my family and friends, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I am no longer fighting this alone, I have an army behind me. Now I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness and take every chance to share my story with others. It's liberating when you can use your own struggle to help others.
2. Being honest creates hope
When you are honest about your own struggles, you are helping others who aren't ready to open up about their own. Being open about your own life is a great way to spread the word that it is OKAY to struggle. The most heart wrenching thing is to live in your own world where you believe you are the only person dealing with a specific struggle. Being honest and open creates hope, and gives other people a light.
3. Being honest becomes a norm
Imagine a world where everybody is honest. There have been many times when I've asked a friend how they are doing, and I can tell they are only saying what they think I want to hear. If we all had the courage to say how our day is really going, we would be able to lift each other up more often. When being honest about our own lives becomes a normality, we will start to see a lot more true happiness come to surface.
4. Being honest will make room for love
If I knew the dark places that many of my friends were in right now, at this very moment, I could show them even more love. Maybe a close friend of mine is struggling with loneliness behind closed doors and if I knew this, I would be able to spend more intentional time with them. If you are afraid of opening up about your struggles because you wonder what people are going to think, know that being honest is only going to make more room for love in your life. The people who matter are going to be there to support you, no matter the weather. Don't spend another day living in the darkness of your struggles.