Suffering in Silence
I’m 37 years old. I wouldn’t categorize that as old by any means but I’ve put a few miles on my soul. I’ll admit that when I am traveling, one of my favorite things to do is to grab my favorite drink from Starbucks (maybe some food, depending on how long the layover is or if I have plans when I land) and people watch. Sure, I could always mindlessly scroll on my phone. However, watching people come and go and just guessing what their story is fascinates me. You see some that are dressed to the nines and others who look like they just rolled out of bed and will be lucky to get on the right plane. Many look to be dressed for business meetings and others look like they are ready to hit the beach. Do I know any of this for fact? Of course not. Yet, I believe these assumptions and game I like to play translate to a very key aspect of life.
We have a tendency to look at people who we perceive to be famous, wealthy, attractive, athletically gifted, musically talented, or who have any sort of public platform as not being human sometimes. What I mean is – why are we so shocked when our favorite pro athlete is in our news feeds or timelines for being arrested? Why do we feel caught off guard when our favorite actor is accused of avoiding paying their taxes? Why are we surprised by ANYTHING that a “reality star” does? These are people and people are fundamentally flawed and imperfect. However, we often fall for the ILLUSION of perfection. We buy into what is posted on social media. They smile pretty. They have money in the bank. What could they possibly have to complain about?
A talent, platform, or recognition does not preclude an individual from experiencing weaknesses, tendencies, shortcomings, flaws, insecurities, fears, and scars from their past. Yet, many times they suffer in silence.
Perhaps you are not famous, wealthy, recognized, or hold what most would consider any recognizable talent. Yet, you are people. You have feelings. You have emotions. You matter. And just like the people we hold in high esteem and in many cases, put on a pedestal, have things that they struggle with just like you and I. How many people’s lives have been cut short because they were ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid to speak up and ask for help?
If you keep trying to impress people, you will impress them right into your own depression - trying to climb out of a pit of what people see. Life is too short to worry about what people who exist in a free app in your phone think of you. The price of acceptance is too high if it costs who you are.
If you have ever felt like a lesser human being for dealing with pain that no one can see – it’s the same as with anyone dealing with a pain that they can see. So, shame OFF of you friend. There is a gift, a talent, a purpose that is inside you that the world needs. If you need help, get some help. If you struggle with anxiety, worry, or depression it is ok to talk about it. It really is. I have learned this firsthand (and the hard way) that we put WAY too much effort into being concerned with the opinions of people who are most likely dealing with something very similar and they too refuse to address it.
How would our world look if we owned up to our failures and our imperfections? How different would we feel about our place in the world if we were willing to speak openly about the tests that we fail, the critique we endure, or the criticism we constantly give to ourselves?
Are you really willing to suffer in silence and deprive yourself of the help, friendships, relationships, or maybe even medicine that could help you realize your dreams or even a more full, healthy life based on the opinion of strangers?
Maybe it’s your family, friends, or colleagues that you are worried about. Perhaps you feel like you’re letting someone down and you fear that they will look at you differently. Friend, I’ve been where you are. It’s scary at first to admit it. It can be terrifying to come to the realization that you don’t have it all together. But I assure you everyone already knows that! And guess what? They are imperfect too!