HAH! Sorry. I don’t really hear your secrets. That’s just creepy. I do however, keep hearing the popular 80’s song by The Romantics every time I sit down to work on this blog and try and come up with a name for it. I figured it was a sign. Hence the name.
Some people we know on a professional level. Some people we know on a social level. Some people we know intimately because they are family or we share our space with them as a spouse, partner or a room mate. Then some people are mere acquaintances or even less, we follow them on social media. But, how much do we really know the people that we “know”.
Everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. We all face them every day. It’s just part of being human. You know the people that you compare yourself to? They struggle too. You know the Facebook friend who’s life seems like a freakin’ dream? The one that makes you feel like your battles will never let your life measure up to theirs? They have their battles too. People don’t post the ugly stuff. Well, there may be some drama mongers that do. I know there’s a whole lot more to my life than what gets posted on Facebook, though. I don’t think people omit the ugly because they want people to compare and feel bad, but, it is human nature to compare and that is what we do whether we realize it or not.
Comparison is a killer. It kills dreams. It kills creativity. It kills hope. How do I know? I am just like everyone else. I have my secret battles and I have done my fair share of comparing and it sure seems like there are a lot of people out there having more fun than me that have less struggle standing in their way. In weak moments I have compared myself to people personally, professionally, athletically, aesthetically, intellectually….probably even spiritually. The moment you are aware that you are comparing, even in the slightest way, you’ll be able to live your life a whole lot happier, more creative and definitely more purposefully.
But, this blog isn’t really meant to be so much about comparison as it is about how important it is to not suffer in silence or at the very least know that you are not alone. The thing about these secret battles we know nothing about, I don’t think we are meant to keep them secret. I have a pretty major health struggle that I have been dealing with most of my life. I wasn’t diagnosed until about 10 years ago, but, it has been a real struggle since the age of 14. I haven’t kept it a secret exactly. It just happens to be a disease that is know as a woman’s disease and we have been conditioned to be uncomfortable when any possibility of lady parts might come up in conversation (I assure you, I won’t go there.) That can be a topic in itself, but, it’s not the focus of the article and neither is my actual disease (endometriosis). My point, sometimes our battles are secret because we know they make people uncomfortable. I don’t want to exclude guys from the “secret battle” topic, but, they are less likely to be hush hush about their prostate than woman are about any given part of being female. Nobody blushes or runs away when you talk about a prostate issue. We are taught from a young age to hide our feminine products as if menstruating is shameful. Men are taught from a young age not to show emotion or weakness. Both of which can cause suffering in silence. These aren’t the only ways people suffer in silence. I don’t think people ask for help like they used to. At least, that is the case in a lot of the circles I see. Is it pride? Is it shame? Who knows? It could be one, the other, both or a combo of things. Any way you shake it, it doesn’t serve us.
Some of the reasons I may have kept a lid on my battles seem ridiculous to me now, but, here they are. You can change the wording on any of these things and apply them to your struggles.
Reason number one to battle in secret: My disease made people uncomfortable.
Reason number two: I am a health and fitness professional. I have to look and act the part.
Reason number three: I was going to do everything 100% perfectly and cure myself in spite of what the doctor told me, so it wouldn’t matter in the long run anyhow.
Reason number four: Labeling myself would not heal me. Talking and sharing how bad I felt was admitting I had an incurable disease and to me that meant I wasn’t going to get better.
Reason number five: Comparing myself to others. The women I admire and look up to didn’t struggle this way. How would I ever reach their level of success when I am sidelined by this…..disease.
Guess what? Almost 10 years of hiding it kicked my ass. I wasn’t just hiding it from others, I was hiding it from myself. I would find a new supplement or a new treatment and it may or may not make a small difference in how I felt and I would tell my husband and family how much better I was since I started this or that. Sometimes I really did feel better, but, it was always short lived and it was always only a symptom or two.
Then, back in January, my symptoms started raging worse than ever. I was miserable. I missed a lot of work. I backed out of so many family and social functions. Lots of things weren’t going well with work. I had completely over-extended myself with clients and projects and had also started a new company (more new information coming soon). I wasn’t doing any one thing well and I had a lingering injury that happened over the previous summer that I couldn’t fix on my own and none of my colleagues could fix it either. The long hard winter took a toll on me mentally. I was uninspired, overworked, sick and in constant chronic pain. My confidence took a pretty serious beating too. I had 10 million reasons to keep it all to myself. Or so I thought.
A funny thing happened. I started saying that I have a disease, not only to myself, but, to other people. Not wallowing…just matter of fact. The truth is, the truth really does set you free. When you are free, you can think, you can heal and the coolest part, you can help others too. Nobody battles the same battles as you. But, knowing other people are struggling too and learning how they manage to stay inspired to contribute to this world in the midst of a battle can be exactly what you need. When we battle alone, we don’t give ourselves what we need. When we don’t give ourselves what we need, we can’t give anyone else what they need. It’s a lose-lose. Being vulnerable allows others to be vulnerable too. That’s a win-win!
Is there a battle you are keeping secret? Be brave. Set yourself free. Check back later for how I am setting myself free and my plans to show up bigger in the world and how that is going to help more people.
Oh, in case, it’s driving you crazy to figure out what song I was talking about, here you go. Now this was a top notch 80’s video and the band’s hair is outstanding.