Many people feel a profound sense of shame for the difficult circumstances and seasons they’ve been through that cause them to feel damaged and broken. They feel humiliated about being in a situation that made them fall apart and have a need to put themselves back together. They want to hide those parts of their story. They might be willing to remember the lessons they learned from the hard times, but tend to gloss over the broken season where they felt lonely or scared or suffered through grief or depression.
Those universal feelings are regarded as weak, and society tells us they should remain hidden. Yet those feelings are the cords that really connect us. When someone takes a risk and shares their story with you, that identification affects your heart, and you don’t feel so much shame about your own story. C. S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!” We’re all so afraid of being real.
Part of my sense of feeling like I am enough right now, just the way I am, comes from those opportunities I have to be real with others. To think maybe the journey that has brought me here can have a redemptive aspect for others. I am certainly still healing from the pain in my life, I have some fresh wounds and some barely healed scars. Even as I’m waiting for a better life to start, I can provide others with encouragement, validation, and help them feel less alone in their darkest moments. I can choose to be brave and speak my truth. I can choose to not dwell on how hard things have been, to take care of myself, to take it slow, be patient with myself as I recover and heal, and to try to use the lessons I’ve been taught by the universe to help others.