I don’t know about you but it’s hard sometimes for me to go to people when I’m struggling with something. I have the problem of belittling my own problems and comparing them to other people’s problems. Long term illness, deaths, money issues, stress at work, and the like always feel like they trump over emotional issues of the heart. I still find it difficult sometimes to be open with even my closest friends with what I’m feeling because I don’t want to bother them with what I’m going through. They have problems of their own so why should I add more to their pile with my own issues? Even when someone gives me an open ended invitation to always come to them when I’m going through my struggles, I tend not to because I’m afraid of being dismissed. “You think you’re going through something rough? You don’t know what rough is.”
That shouldn’t be the case at all. People shouldn’t have to go through life struggles on their own. True, recovering from a broken heart may seem petty compared to a friend who is going through cancer, but life is not an ongoing game of comparing. I really like this blog post because it put things into perspective for me: “Why Comparing Our Struggles is a Losing Game“.
A close friend passed along this advice to remember whenever I feel like I shouldn’t share what I was going through:
“What you are going through is hard for YOU and God has you in a hard place right now, and yes I’m going through hard stuff and it’s hard for ME, and just cause my hardship might seem more serious does not mean you need to minimize the struggle that you are currently going through now…. It’s okay that what you are going through is hard for you…”
There, of course, may be some people who you can’t share things with. They may be in a different stage of life, a different season, or have the wrong timing where they cannot relate and may not be the best person to share things with. And that’s ok. It’s about finding balance. That being said, if someone who you are close friends with comes to you with a struggle of their own, even if you are going through worse, listen to them. They’ve come to you for a reason. Take the time and spend with them. While you don’t want to encourage them to stay in the struggle forever, but just being there for them will do wonders. When they come to you, because sometimes it’s going to be hard to finally do that, even if all you do is just sit and listen will mean all the world to them.
To know you’re not alone and you don’t have to go through it alone is such a wonderful feeling. Knowing that you have friends who will be with you while you are hurting, who are willing to hold you while you are crying and even encourage you to do so, who will call you out when you’re acting like everything’s ok (but really it isn’t), who will pray for you through the struggles even when you don’t ask them to, who let you experience the process of loss and ache by just being there with you and not think you are stupid for feeling this way…..these are just some of the things you experience when you finally realize you can’t handle it alone and you let someone you trust know your pain. Don’t go through things alone if you don’t have to.
Do you find it easy to talk to others when you are struggling? Do you try to do it alone? What holds you back from going to someone with your struggles?