Dear Wonderful You,
I see you there, hurting and hiding it from everyone else who’s *got their shit together*.
You’re exhausted from all the scrolling — through breaking news and social media feeds and the relentless, negative chatter in your mind — almost like treading water in the center of an ocean, pushing through days that drag on endlessly, convinced you’re getting absolutely nowhere.
You’ve been feeling this way for too long now, and you’ve been ready to give up for quite some time — not because you want to admit defeat but because you’re sliding under instead of improving. You literally can’t keep going like this.
Logically, you know all the reasons contributing to your pain, but at this point, nothing even matters.
Whether it’s been grief, anxiety, humiliation, depression, addiction, regret over a catastrophic fuckup, or a chemical imbalance that’s beating your ass, the end result is the agony you feel now, which is only compounded by the absence of a clear and actionable path forward toward relief.
If only you had the energy to carve out a path forward…let alone eat … or care about anything.
Believe me, I get it.
And, I see you.
So here is my promise to you:
You will get through these next few minutes because we’ll walk together with your pain.
- First, let’s notice your broken heart — and how tender, raw and exposed it feels. You know you don’t want to keep feeling this way. The good news is, you won’t.
- Next, let’s acknowledge that your emotional pain is real. If others dismiss your pain, just turn away from them and keep on reading. Your feelings are your feelings, and they’re 100% real.
- Finally, let’s agree that you’re changing the course of your life, beginning right here and right now. Believe me, it’s easier than you think, because you have to remember just one simple thing:
Unlike your feelings, which are as real as rain, your thoughts are not facts.
As much as you hear yourself (or others) say that you’re a horrible person or you won’t amount to anything or you’ll never live this one down or that you’ll never get through this — I’m here to remind you that you’re not a horrible person, that you are deeply valued, and that you will survive this.
Though you’ve come to believe that there is no hope, that it’s not worth going on, or that the world would be a much better place without you, these are thoughts, and thoughts are not facts. They are not reality.
What IS real is that you are cherished, you are loved, and you are deeply admired. And should you ask, “Really?! By Whom?”
I’ll tell you: It’s me, you knucklehead.
I cherish you for reading this far when you’re feeling so awful.
I love you for holding on when it doesn’t feel worth it.
I admire you for wrestling with all that I’m telling you, and for trying to reframe what you’ve come to believe.
I want you to hang on because it always gets better. If you do nothing else right now, just trust me on that one.
You, of all people, are worthy of peace and happiness because you, the sufferer, will appreciate them so much more than someone who’s never struggled like this.
You, of all people, have won a lottery of sorts by going through all that you’ve dealt with, because you now have the depth and capacity to empathize with others drowning in the wake of their misery. You’ve earned the emotional currency which can help someone else. How do I know this? Because I’ve been as low as you are right now. And I’m drawing on my own winnings at this very moment and am investing them in wonderful you.
Let It Go
You matter in ways you can’t possibly imagine right now, ways I won’t bother listing here since you’re already dealing with enough as it is. You’ve reached your capacity of input, amiright?
And so, rather than taking anything more in, I urge you to simply let it all out.
Let the world know you’re hurting by showing your tears, by writing your words, by playing songs really loud, and by reaching out to someone and admitting you’re struggling. Maybe it’s a roommate, a neighbor, a partner, a relative, a therapist, or even a stranger. Think about it: we were strangers less than a minute ago. Now just look at us.
Showing vulnerability sounds counterintuitive when you’re already feeling so broken inside, but I promise: if you let yourself be vulnerable with someone — just enough to express that you’re in pain — you’ll step away from the grip of isolation and despair and onto a path that leads to healing.
And while I see that you’ve been in tremendous pain, I also know that, along with that pain, you possess tremendous strength. I know this because you’re still reading.
So, let me be the first to thank and congratulate you for choosing not to chuck it all right now. You’ve proven you’re motivated to keep moving forward, and because of this, I am certain that resilience will serve you (and others) beautifully.
Hang in there. It’s so worth it.
Christine Wolf writes about the human condition. She’s a mom, a former advertising exec and teacher, and now, a journalist. Her opinion columns have run on Patch.com as well as in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. She’s written two books and is about to start her third. She isn’t afraid to cry or to wrap you in a hug — especially when you insist you’re really not a hugger. So there. Twitter: @tinywolf1 Instagram: tinywolf1 Facebook: @ChristineWolfWriter