My social media feeds were rife with a single theme today: People are struggling to live in a world where everyone else appears to be happier than they are.
There was this blog post about dealing with depression that stemmed from the author raging against "the Cult of Happy." The post begins with, "It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you
weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things."
Then there was this post, which points out the lie of perfection and which made me cry. Because I lived that lie for years and was miserable and wasted and heartbroken without ever realizing why.
There were people in private messages telling me their story and listening to mine; there were short Twitter quips from people who are struggling and people saying it's okay to struggle. In a few phone calls, there was that hint of frustration that comes with a really crappy day; there was my son, who simply responded to the question about his day with a shrug and an, "It wasn't the best."
And you guys...ALL of that is okay. Not every day has to be the best. Not every moment has to be happy. You don't always have to be full of energy and living life to the fullest. Because you aren't up to it every day; no one is, but some people are better at living the lie than others. That doesn't make them better. In fact, in my experience, it generally makes them more miserable.
So, don't be afraid to say "It's not okay." Don't always say, "I'm fine" when you aren't.
Let's start being real with each other; let's stop the faux Facebook living and be genuine. Show your weird, unmask your anxieties, put a name to your fears. I promise, you aren't the only one. Every time I take a leap and let a little more of myself free, I'm surprised at the number of people who respond with "me too!"
C. S. Lewis said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”
Because you aren't the only one who is looking for someone who will understand. You aren't the only one who just wants one person to really get you. You aren't the only one who is lonely, or scared, or struggling, or crying, or worried, or terrified, or so tired of the day after day that you can't bear it another hour. I'm that person, too. And so is the girl next door, or the man across the street, or your prim and proper coworker.
Not everyone will admit to it, because that type of honesty takes courage. Unmasking comes with a lot of risk. But the rewards can be great as well; when you are real, people may be real with you. And when people are real together, beautiful things begin to happen.