I’m just going to be real with you for a second. As a professional writer on the internet, as someone who tries to pour her heart into her life and work every single day, as someone whose honestly only goal is to spread light through whatever means she can—sometimes I get hopeless.
And I know what you’re thinking: either “no way, not her” (which we’re all so guilty of when we play the comparison game, thinking everyone has it together except us, am I right?!), or “if she feels hopeless, well then, there’s no hope for me.”
Ugh. Trust me, I feel you. I’ve been in both of those places and they’re not fun places to be. But we’re so guilty of them, right? We see someone with a beautiful Instagram feed and immediately we feel inadequate. We see a colleague do better than us and right away we start doubting our craft. We watch our best friend get married and question whether there’s even someone out there for us. We turn another year old and start believing that we’ll never be happy.
But why? Why do we do this to ourselves?
It seems like just when we have it all together, it breaks apart. Or just when things start falling into place, something unravels. But you know what? That’s life. It’s going to happen. And it doesn’t mean that we accept these negative things and just crumble, but it DOES mean we fight back and continue forward because pain will not last forever.
Hopelessness is a temporary feeling, not a truth.
Just a few weeks ago I was talking to one of my best friends from back home in Chicago. She was confessing her struggle with work: not really pursuing her passions, not really knowing what she wanted to do in the first place, and honestly, feeling pretty stuck. She tried to switch the conversation over to me and my life, saying, “You just have it all together. You are doing what you love, you’re so happy, you have it figured out.”
And I had to stop her right there.
Because in reality, everyone else’s lives look wonderful from the outside. Sure, it looks like I’m doing everything I love, I’m living this perfect life, I’m so happy. But truth is, I get sad too. I get down. I have moments where I wonder what I’m doing, or if I should be doing more. I fall down. I get lost. I have days where I doubt my writing, question my purpose, or stress about what’s coming. And this isn’t to ask for pity, but to be real. I don’t have it all together. None of us do.
In the end, though, that’s not what life’s about. It’s not about having a perfect path, never questioning, never falling down. It’s not about all the achievements or goals you can reach.
Life is simply about caring for other people, listening to you heart, doing what you love (even if it isn’t your full-time job). Life is about making an impact and being the best version of yourself—and maybe that’s in your part-time restaurant position as you take classes on the side, maybe that’s in being a mother to four children and doing photography projects on the weekends, maybe that’s being the CEO of a company and the best aunt in the world—whatever your journey or story is, it’s YOURS.
Don’t stress about being the best, just be your best. Don’t over-compare until you stifle your creativity. Don’t let someone else’s journey suffocate your own. And don’t let any setbacks, falls or moments of weakness determine where you will go.
We are all moving, growing, pursuing, and figuring things out. We’re all fighting battles, overcoming obstacles, brushing ourselves off after falls and trying to find our footing again. The fact that we are so different, yet so similar is both beautiful and frightening. So we must remember this: We are not alone. And we are not incapable.
We will survive. Sometimes the journey just takes time. Sometimes we have to take a few steps backwards before we can run in the direction of our dreams. Sometimes we have to make ends meet before jumping into a career we really enjoy. Sometimes the circumstances of our lives put the things we love on the backburner for a little while.
But don’t give up.
Whatever you’re fighting through right now will not be permanent. The way you feel, the sadness in your chest—that won’t stay forever. Just keep moving, keep believing, keep taking strides in the direction of hope.
You WILL make it through this.
You are far stronger than you think.