It's hard not to compare our lives to other people's.
Sometimes, we look at others and feel envious because they appear to have figured it out. They work hard. They keep it together. And, they are gracious about it.
You feel in awe of this person but also like you're failing. You ask yourself: why can't that be me? Why can't I be stronger? Better?
And that's when your confidence starts plummeting.
But the truth is, things aren't always what they seem. The person you are jealous of is struggling with their own demons. You just haven't seen them.
They are waking up, gathering their courage to face another day, and they are headed back out onto the battlefield, just like you are.
And the funny part is, that person may very well look at you and see grace, perseverance, and tenacity. That person may be looking up to you for strength and guidance.
Because we are all a little broken, whether we always show it or not. We are all struggling with something and just finding a way to keep fighting.
There's no shame in letting people see some of the struggles sometimes. Because it can bring immense comfort to someone to see that they aren't the only ones hurting.
When we let go of our pride, we give ourselves permission to be human. We give ourselves permission to slip up and to hurt and to grow without ridiculous standards of perfection constantly looming over our heads.
We give ourselves a chance to face conflicts, to face ourselves, and to heal. And in this healing process, we give others a chance to follow our lead.
Because the world is full of unrealistic notions about what it means to be strong, and they've got it all wrong.
Being strong is about being aware of what you need as a person. It's about knowing when to ask for help and when to make a change. It's about pushing through hard times as best you can. It's not about never breaking down, it's just about continuing on.
It is about kindness and acceptance. It's learning to love yourself for every imperfection. It's learning to love others and help them feel that same acceptance. It's something we can work on within ourselves as well as help others build upon.
Look around. Whether it's someone that seems to have it all together or someone that is falling apart, remember that we are all struggling. Sometimes, you just have to look a little harder to see it.
So, when you walk by these people, smile. Smile and know that they are just souls trying to make it work. Smile and know that no single person can ever be perfect, but that's okay.
Smile and know that you're working on being the best you can and you're finding the strength in your own story, just like they are.
Everyone's story is different. But, everyone's story is important.