Our struggles are essential parts of our lives, no matter how cruel or unwelcome they may be. We NEED to hurt in order to truly live, grow, and love, and that’s a tough realization to come to. Many people structure their lives in ways that are safe yet incredibly damaging. I’ve met countless individuals who shut themselves away in their dark bedrooms and waste away in front of TV screens, never daring to step outside because that fear of pain through risk is always present. They would love to go out and experience life and all of the possibilities it presents, but that crippling terror always overpowers that desire for more. But here’s the kicker. A life without risks is a life without joy, and to those of you shaking your heads and calling me crazy, let me explain. Let’s use relationships as an example. Relationships have the greatest potential to bring us immeasurable joy, and yet they are some of the biggest leaps of faith we can ever take. Everyone needs human interaction to some degree, which is a scientific fact. We’re social creatures, born with an insatiable appetite for love and acceptance that can only be achieved through socializing. The same goes for simply stepping onto your front porch. That’s a risk, too. There’s always that unlikely possibility that a truck could come barreling down your street, lose control, and crash into your house. Will that happen? Probably not. But you simply can’t deprive yourself of a full life because you’re scared.
You may be asking, “What’s your point?” My point, inquisitive reader, is that if you struggle so much that it keeps you from living, seek help. There’s no shame in asking for help or advice, and there’s no point in putting off your own happiness. A distinguishing characteristic of a mature person versus an immature person is that one who is mature always knows when they need help. No one can tackle this whole “life” thing alone, and the sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can let others in and live the life you deserve.
I lived over half of my life so far in paralyzing fear, constantly aware that I was suffering but too proud and arrogant to actually do something about it. I moved through my school years in a hazy stupor brought on by my own numbness, never realizing how wonderful life can be if you just let someone else in. Therapists tried to help, but I never cracked. My parents worked tirelessly to pick my brain and help me find joy, but I didn’t let them. This endless cycle continued for years, and I suffered so much because of my own stubborn reluctance to accept the help I so desperately needed. My pride came with a terrible, terrible price, and it prolonged my suffering and gave power to my fears.
Second, objective opinions are so vital to better understanding how you work, and yet most people are so terrified of the very idea of someone else knowing who they are. You might think you’re more secure when you shut yourself away, but that line of thinking is so wrong. Think about it this way: If shutting yourself away is supposed to make you feel safer, why are you still so terrified? Why is every day heartbreaking and discouraging?
What if you had someone there for you at all times? What if you had a safety net that could catch you when you fall, hold you when you are hurt, and give you complete security? Doesn’t that sound much safer than destroying yourself with your own fear and doubt?
If there’s anything to take from this essay, it’s that no one is alone. There’s always someone there to listen, but sometimes you have to take the initiative and find them. Confiding in another person is one of the bravest, most responsible acts you can ever commit, because it shows you love yourself enough to recognize that your current coping strategies are not working and that you need new ones.
I urge you, all of you, to seek help if you need it, and to recognize when life gets the better of you and you need that safety net. Not doing so is the greatest disservice you can ever do, both to yourself and to everyone who loves you.