Do you sometimes feel that everyone else has it all together except you? Do you feel that others don’t worry as much as you, or that others don’t suffer from the insecurities that haunt you? Does it seem that they feel more confident, comfortable or content than you?
Perhaps you feel that your life circumstances are more difficult than others. It just seems that others are less plagued by the hardships you endure. Of course, you know better. It doesn’t take much effort to remember someone whose problems outweigh your own. When you think of their pain, you feel guilty for bemoaning your own lesser problems. Even when we know better, we often feel that our problems are unique, and that others are somehow free of similar afflictions. We feel alone.
This perception is fostered by the fact that most people try to act like they actually do “have it all together.” We try to act cool, calm and collected. We want to appear okay. After all, the common response to the question, “How are you?” is “Fine.”
The perception is also fostered by the Facebook phenomenon. So many people read other’s Facebook posts about their wonderful vacations, children and spouses and wonder, “What am I doing wrong?”
It’s really unfortunate that most people try so hard to appear as if they have it all together. It makes us feel like we are unique in our insecurities. So of course, we then have to try harder to act like we have it altogether. Seems a bit circular, doesn’t it?
The fact is that the human condition is shared by all humans. If they look like you on the outside (you know, two eyes, a nose and a mouth) they are probably a lot like you on the inside. If anyone tells you that they never experience insecurities, it just means that they’re too insecure to be honest.
You might benefit from a shift in attention. Rather than focusing your attention on how others see you, focus on really looking at others. Really listen to them. Try to understand others on a deeper level. Try to listen with empathy or compassion. I have found that it is impossible to be self-conscious and other-conscious at the same time. Even when you can’t see it, assume that they too have their story. Listen for it. See if you can help. You’ll feel better for it.
Comment: Share an experience that helped you realize that your feelings or difficulties were not unique to you.