Have you ever known you were struggling, but you felt like you couldn’t tell anyone about it? You want support—and above all, you want to not be struggling—but you fear being judged. And to be honest, you’re judging yourself.
At the root of it is this: “I am ashamed because I suffer.”
Holy freakin’ Dinah.
Do you hear that? I am ashamed because I suffer?
Last time I checked, few of us invite suffering. Hard things happen; we feel pain. When we feel pain, we wrestle with it, and this wrestling is called SUFFERING.
News flash, folks: Suffering is human.
I sat on a counselor’s couch some months ago and cried because I knew I was positioned to offer support to people, and I felt the weight and responsibility of this.
I cried because while I feel fulfilled and energized by meeting with people in a healing setting, at home I was nearly overcome with anxiety, shame, and (the counselor suggested) suffering.
She suggested I insert the gentle word “and.”
I support people with their suffering … and … I also experience suffering.
With her words, it was as if someone knit my heart back together in the center of my chest. I could FEEL something healing. I had been feeling less than and ashamed: “Who am I to be in this position when I don’t have it all figured out on my own? I’ve studied pain, anxiety, and trauma for so long, and I still don’t have myself figured out.”
And her gentle words reminded me: “We are all in the position to both suffer and offer hope.” Reach a hand forward in hope, even as you offer one to the person suffering behind you.
We all suffer. And.