I thought it was just me

Is a book title by one of my favourite women on the planet, Brene Brown, who has written many other great books such as Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and one I loved the most Braving the Wilderness. It is also the source of much amusement for my mate Bernie, who says, every time I mention Brene’s name, “do you know Brene Brown? I thought it was just me”. It’s one of those things where I guess you need to be there to get it, but we laugh!

‘I thought it was just me’ is something we all say when others tell us their challenges or demons and we realise that we are not alone. That feeling of being alone is a very tough one for all of us, we want to feel that what we are experiencing, others do too.

We make this assumption, that we are the worst at…or the biggest failure…and why do others seem to be able to do it and I can’t. That awful, pointless, soul-destroying ‘comparison with others’ routine that we all go through.

The fact is many others struggle with the same or similar challenges that we do. Never exactly the same, as our life journeys are totally unique. However, there is more than enough elements that will have some commonality.

The way to break out of this feeling alone is to connect with others, a difficult task for many who are suffering from acute challenges, but once we reach out, connect and then most importantly, share our stories, we all of a sudden find that there are others out there.

We can then say with huge relief ‘I thought it was just me’ and we can start the process of being able to move forward, learn from others and receive empathy and to feel understood.

If you know of someone who struggles with reaching out, be there for them to empathetically listen and to help them to not feel that they are the only one and that they are not alone.

Talking, sharing, connecting, understanding and empathy help us to not feel alone.

It’s inside

Of course, we can look outside, but change and accountability come from within.

There are no other factors in whatever happens in our lives other than how we choose to react and what actions we choose.

The only element that is consistent in every single second of our entire journeys is us, we are there for every moment of our lives.

What we do is all that matters as we can not control anything or anyone else.

The more we accept and the more we let go, the easier it is to show up, the easier it is to give ourselves permission to be us. True belonging comes we when we are prepared, as Brene Brown beautifully says, to brave the wilderness that comes when we are truly ourselves 100% without fear. Belonging isn’t doing the easy thing and fitting in. It isn’t looking to others for change.

As always, this a journey, a work in progress and something that takes often a lifetime to obtain, but that’s ok because it’s about small steps to getting even better and staying a learner, not judging our own failings. Kindness to ourselves is a massive step.

It is inside us all, it’s a freedom what we choose to do.