These 5 Words Are Really Hard To Say

"I'm having a hard time"

Sunday in Relief Society we had a lesson on depression and anxiety and then I had a conversation with a friend that got me thinking. One of the other truths that should be universal with death and taxes is that we ALL struggle in life. We all face heartache and difficulties of one kind or another. No matter how glamorous or easy a life may look, there are always heartaches and difficulties - just very often well hidden. For most of us we carry our heartache close inside and put on a smiling mask pretending all is well.

Yet inside we feel like this

So I wanted to share some realizations I came to after Sunday's lesson and discussion. 

~ Striving for perfection doesn't mean we don't struggle ~

It is because we are striving to become like the Savior and for perfection that we struggle. Inherent in that striving for perfection, is struggles and difficulties. If we weren't striving for anything there would be no struggling. 

But often somehow in our minds we equate perfection with never struggling. So when, not if, we struggle, we feel that we are failing. We aren't good enough, which is why we are struggling. Then we hide - withdrawing into ourselves and hiding that we are struggling. 

~ Talking about struggles doesn't have to be negative ~

When Laman and Lemuel had a hard time in the Book of Mormon they murmured. Murmuring may seem like a good way to share our struggles but it is actually more harmful. Murmuring does little to help us feel better - the underlying purpose in murmuring is to be seen and to carry around the issue, grudge or problem and not let go of it. This keeps us rooted in the struggle and we feel like we are a victim, which leads to us being acted upon instead of acting. 

But venting can be healthy - it can be an uplifting and strengthening experience to share that we are struggling with someone we trust. The biggest difference is that the sharing is with the purpose of expressing the emotion so we can move forward - even if it is just a little. 

~ Sharing Struggles Doesn't Devalue Anyone's Struggle ~

I have had the thought before - "Well if everyone has struggles I'm sure they don't want to hear mine - they have enough to deal with." And on Sunday when I was talking to my friend it came very clear to me - when someone shares with me that they are having a hard time, struggling or just feeling overwhelmed with everything - if I'm also having a hard time their sharing helps in a couple of ways. 

First, is that I know I'm not alone in struggling and having feelings of inadequacy or being overwhelmed. 

Second, it helps me focus on someone other than myself. I start to think about them and perhaps what I could do for them even if it is just to offer comfort or a listening ear.

So in truth, when someone shares their struggling it helps me in my struggling and hopefully vice verse. And I feel the Lord blesses us when we listen to others share their struggles because I know more often than not, I'm filled with love as I listen. And I know that is a blessing from the Lord - He commanded us to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort, etc. because He would make it possible for us to do that.

~ Facebook is not a good substitute for talking to someone ~

It is tempting to vent on Facebook or share your struggle but honestly, it cannot replace having a conversation with someone. I know it may be easy to think, "I don't have SOMEONE I can tell so I use Facebook." But when willing to toss out the previous misconceptions, I'm sure almost all of us have at least one person we trust and know cares about us that we could tell. 

There is a connection that happens when we share with someone we trust. Facebook cannot create that connection no matter how hard it tries :) It creates a faux connection that actually often leaves us feeling emptier than before. 

Commit to being there for others (not everyone but those you are closest too) and also to sharing with others. We all will be benefited and helped in our struggles. Sharing a load makes it lighter for all of us and will improve our relationships. 

"Our trials are not tests so the Lord can measure us. They are tests and trials so that we can measure ourselves. It is most important that we know our strengths in adversity and grow from the experiences.”

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