We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
I used to feel very ashamed of my struggles. I’ve made some pretty moronic mistakes. I could write a lengthy post of nothing but confessions of money mistakes I’ve made. And another, of thoughtless things I have said to people I love. I am most certainly not a saint. I get fearful, I get discouraged. It’s only recently that I’ve stopped hiding it.
And an amazing thing happened, when I stopped hiding my struggles, my past, and my imperfections. I realized that I most certainly am not the only person having these experiences.
The most important thing for everybody to know, is that we all have different versions of the same story.
We walk around, feeling alone in our experiences, in our struggles. We isolate ourselves and hide behind masks, because we don’t want the secrets of our past and our struggles to come out. We don’t want anyone to know how different, how separate we are.
The thing is, we’re not. The details are different, but the themes of each of our stories are the same:
- We all struggle with fear.
- We have all acted selfishly.
- We have all had to choose between survival mode and doing what’s right.
- We have all chosen survival mode, at one point of another.
- We have all doubted ourselves.
- We are all searching for the truth, even if we are taking different paths.
- We have all overcome something–we all have at least one victory story to share.
By making topics of conversation taboo, by hiding behind the illusion of perfection, and by judging ourselves and others, we deny ourselves the opportunity to see how common our story is. It is through honesty and sharing that we can overcome our greatest fear–that we are alone and cut-off. It is through sharing our stories, and listening to the stories that others tell, that we can grow stronger and help each other in our common struggles.
So, stop hiding behind shame and self-doubt. You’re not the only one to walk the path you’re on. Realize that there is nothing you are experiencing, that everyone else hasn’t experienced, in some way, shape, or form. Realize that nobody “has it all together,” all the time.
We are all on a journey.
Just a reminder: there is still time to join my $1 a month challenge, if you have not already!