Do you ever have a dream where the action and feeling don't connect? Like you fall but don't feel the impact; you go to punch someone but your arm goes limp on contact; or you're trying to reach for something and can't seem to grab it.
That's how I felt when I sat down to write this article tonight. I have fistfuls of ideas tucked in my head, but every time I reached for one, it vanished. I began to panic. Ideas kept coming, but the anxiety which was building directly alongside it prevented any progress. I had nothing to cling to and was drowning with two hours until deadline. Knowing that my stress often gets the best of me if I don't control it, I closed my eyes, took some deep breaths and tried to think about what was making me so anxious. I realized that I was indecisive because I was unsure of myself. I became nervous about choosing a good topic. I just wanted someone to listen to an idea and say "Yeah! go with that one".
I realized that I was feeling alone.
Feeling Alone But Surrounded By Others
There are a couple ironic things about this situation. The first is that I was very much not alone. I was sitting in the same room as my husband. I was not even five feet away from another human being. I knew he was there but was so caught up in my own thoughts and anxiety that I hadn't once even thought of asking him what he thought I should write about. My self-imposed misery could easily have been remedied by looking up and speaking up.
It made me think: How many times do we find ourselves feeling alone when we don't need to?
The other bit of irony about this particular revelation I was having is that I had already heard this sentiment twice just today.
You are not alone
The first time was during a freshman orientation session I sat in on at the high school I'm completing my counseling internship with. This is an urban school with the majority of the students coming from low-income and distressed families. Some of the issues that these students face at home make it incredibly difficult to excel. The principal of the school addressed the entire freshman class with a personal story from his own life. He told them about how he grew up poor. His family moved frequently and switched schools often. He related to their struggles of wondering if the heat was going to be on or if the lights would be shut off. He spoke of dealing with an abusive stepfather and worrying about what he would find when he came home from school that day. He talked about how he channeled that drive to overcome his adversity and used his energy to become the best person he could be. Mostly, though, he was telling them...you are not alone.
The second conversation I had was with a parent educator with the Birth to Five program. We were talking about how many services are available in our community to help people surpass barriers and become self-sufficient. Sadly, many of these programs are under-utilized or even unknown. She told me a story about a women who needed mental health services. This woman was referred by a case worker to a program that would send a counselor directly to the woman's house, meet in private and would be totally free of charge. However, this woman was so nervous about asking for this help, she couldn't physically make the phone call. Months later the women asked her to sit there while she made a call and made the appointment. The woman simply needed someone there; someone to say...you are not alone.
This made me think: How often do we choose to drown in our own problems, when there is someone right there who is able to help?
So, once again, I looked up at my husband and thought for a second about asking him for help. Did I? Of course not. He was reading and I didn't want to bother him with my nonsense. (I'm quite dense sometimes, even with the universe screaming at me). I was almost back to overwhelming myself with dread about writing this article when I remembered that our Self Love Beauty editor Lisa Thompson had posted a quote for us to use as inspiration this week. I did a digital rush to the group page and saw it:
"Self Love Beauty's mission is to ensure women have self-love through feeling confident in their own beauty and feeling empowered one story at a time knowing they are not alone on their journey to reach their full potential."
There it was. We should learn to ask for help when we need it and we should respect the universe when it sends it to us anyway.
It made me think: Whatever you're going through, whatever it is you have to face, please know... you are not alone.