A friend reached out to share about some circumstances in her life. The weight of her struggles were challenging — almost crushing. Can you guess what my response was? It was, "me too." Some of the darkest challenges in her life were were very familiar to me. So familiar, in fact, that it was as though my story was being told from her lips. Although she and I could never have identical circumstances, our struggles were alike in tonality and the pain that followed. How normal it is to experience challenges of great magnitude and to think, "I'm all alone in this." It's normal, but it's a lie.
There's a hard paradox in these deepest of struggles: you are both alone in your pain and never alone. Alone because there is only one you — living your one life, battered yet brimming with beauty. Your life, your hurt, is uniquely yours. But with this truth, there is another — a silver lining of sorts. You are never truly alone, because the problems you face ring true to the very core of what it means to exist in a human body. Others, too, have faced problems like this. Others, too, have overcome such despair. Such inner darkness and turmoil. There are others who have felt these feelings, wrestled with fears, and felt as if everything they held dear was crumbling to pieces.
When we find a safe place to speak our truth, we are able to hear that empathetic balm to the soul. "Me too." You're not alone. Your tears are not wasted. Your pain is not unspeakable. You are a human with hardship, in need of another human to listen and say, "I hear you" and "me too." We can get through this together. May we all find the courage to feel our feelings, receive the empathetic words we need, and be that voice of empathy when it is needed the most.
If you find yourself in the valley, in the dark, in the midst of the storm, know that you are not alone.