My clients often share similar feelings about the frustrations they feel in their respective challenges. A common sentiment is, “Overall, my life is going well and an outsider may think I have it all together, but they really have no clue what I struggle with and that I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin.”
The idea that outsides and insides always match is an easy assumption; it’s easy to look at others, especially through the social media lens, and think that they have it all together, all the way, all the time. The belief that everyone else besides you has somehow cracked the code to living life is a notion that can breed isolation, jealousy, loneliness, discontentment, and just feeling like you’re really far from normal. Feeling like you’re not normal is profoundly painful, no matter how old, attractive, accomplished, popular, or successful you may be.
If you ever watch a swan glide in water, it seems so smooth and effortless. But if you look underwater, you’ll see the legs moving rapidly, doing the work. When we look at other people, it’s easy to see their lives as easy and effortless, just gliding along without resistance. But it’s because we often don’t know what’s happening below the surface. The more we accept this—that everyone struggles to get around in life and has moments where the current feels difficult to withstand- perhaps there will be less shame in our challenges and the need to reach out for help.