Everyone You Admire is Struggling Just Like You


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Recently I was talking to a friend, and they told me that they thought I was really thriving these days. To which I very reasonably responded, “SHUT UP, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” I am always frazzled and I feel like I am only now beginning to figure out my life and ninety percent of the time there are waffle crumbs in my bra! But she didn’t see any of that, she just saw the good stuff going on in my life, because that’s all I make public. And it occurred to me, it’s really all just a matter of perspective, isn’t it? The good things she saw in my life weren’t fake, they were really happening. They just didn’t seem to me like they were that big a deal, or like they represented everything that was going on with me. Because no matter how big a fraction of someone’s life you are seeing, it’s still not the whole picture. There’s always something else going on, some other thing that they’re struggling with or that they don’t love about themselves that they’re working on. She was seeing all the good things in my life, and I was seeing all the messy things and the loose ends.

And that is what led me to another, even more delightful conclusion: all the people who I thought were seriously thriving probably felt the same way I did: kind of confused, not always super confident, prone to getting lost in the grocery store and accidentally buying four boxes of toaster waffles. You can be a big giant mess and also be doing big impressive things! The two do not preclude each other! It is a feature of our dumb, irrational monkey minds that we have trouble imagining other people as complexly as we imagine ourselves, but it is important, I think, to take a little time to remind yourself that every single person you idolize and admire from afar has something they don’t like about themselves and something they don’t think they do very well and some secret vulnerability that they are afraid everyone else will notice. It is not just you. And of course this has all been said before but I do think it bears repeating: we are all just dumb confused people doing our best! No one has it all figured out! As long as you are doing your best, you are doing all right. Do try to get the waffle crumbs out of your bra though, those get itchy.

Photo by abi ismail on Unsplash