You don’t need to be ashamed because of your struggle.
Struggling is not a shameful thing.
It doesn’t matter WHAT you are struggling with: to struggle does not make you a “weak” person.
I guarantee that the strongest, smartest person you know, the strongest, smartest person you could possibly think of, has struggled.
Possibly in ways that nobody knows about— maybe in ways that nobody would even believe.
Yet we often do feel shame because of our struggles.
We tell ourselves we “shouldn’t” struggle with whatever we’re struggling with.
We tell ourselves that, if anyone was to find out how much we struggle with something, they would think less of us.
So many people you meet every single day are hidden behind an invisible wall of shame.
They’ll never let on, because they don’t want to appear “weak.” They don’t want to be a “burden.”
And this— the keeping of secrets about our struggles— makes those struggles even more exhausting.
You may be reading this, and assume that I’m talking about everybody else— not you.
I am talking about you.
There are people reading this who are struggling with things that almost nobody knows about.
There are people reading this who have just accepted that they will have to hold on to their secret struggle, alone, indefinitely.
You’d be amazed at how many people are carrying around secret addictions, secret compulsions, and other secret struggles.
There is a subset of men who are carrying around the secret that they’ve been sexually abused— but they don’t want to reveal it, because men being sexually victimized doesn’t fit into our cultural schema of what a “man” is all about.
There is a subset of military veterans who are carrying around the secret that they service affected them more than they’ve ever let anyone know— but they don’t want to reveal it, because they don’t want anyone to assume that they are somehow disrespecting or dishonoring the institution or culture of the military.
There is a subset of people carrying around the simple secret that they are depressed— but they don’t want to reveal it, because they’ve been conditioned to think that people only talk about their emotional struggles because they are seeking attention.
People are carrying their secret suffering and struggles all around us, every day.
As a culture, we very often try to convince ourselves that we are very open minded and non-judgmental of emotional and behavioral struggles…but we often fail to walk that talk.
Most often, we expect people to “have their shit together” after a certain age.
Most often, we expect adults to not struggle with things like controlling their calorie and alcohol intake.
Most often, we expect people to be able to handle supposedly “simple” things like managing money and time.
When someone struggles with things such as these, we, as a culture…tend to not be all that empathetic.
So people keep their struggles to themselves.
They only go in for therapy when something gets “so bad” that they can’t keep their struggle secret anymore.
And even then, when they get into therapy, they start with a list of reasons why they SHOULDN’T need therapy.
I’m not naive’. I know that people carry around their secret struggles for reasons. I know that it’s not as simple a just telling anyone to stop carrying those secrets, that they don’t HAVE to carry them in silence if they don’t want to.
But for everybody who is carrying a secret struggle, a secret pain, a secret truth:
I hear you.
You are not alone.
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