Are You Living The Perfect Life?
I gotta be honest with you...the chances that everything in your life is perfect all at the same time is pretty slim. So why is it so easy to fall into the trap of trying to pretend that it is?
How many times do you find yourself telling someone that things at home are great, when in actual fact you just had a huge fight with your husband? Or you make sure you take a photo at an angle that carefullly hides the clutter in the background (or you just shove that mess to the side so at least it's out of frame)? Maybe you'll say yes to a coffee date when in reality you're not even sure how you're going to afford the groceries this week.
The fact is, we all go through challenges at different times of our lives and if we pretend that life is perfect, we are doing ourselves a disservice. When you take the time to share a problem with someone, you are opening up an opportunity for them to help support you. You may not even realise it at the time but sharing your struggles may actually be the beginning of a solution.
I'm not necessarily suggesting that you pop onto your Facebook feed and blast your personal life to the world or even that you need to tell the next person you bump into. But next time you're chatting with a friend, another school mum, a gym buddy and they ask you something about your life...stop and think for a moment before you answer.
Even something as simple as "It could be better" or, "it was a rough night", leaves the conversation open for them to ask more if they choose. You may find, by opening up to someone else about a challenge you're facing that you're not alone. They may be experiencing the same thing or they may have been there before and have some great advice or someone they can refer you to.
After our second child was born, my partner and I went through a really rough patch. We were fortunate enough to find an amazing counsellor who, over a period of time, helped us to make a number of changes in our relationship. We are now blessed to have a very strong, loving relationship (still with moments of frustration of course). When someone opens up to me about struggles they may be having in their relationship, I love to be able to share her details with them if appropriate, or let them know the difference counselling made in our lives. I can share some of the tips we learned along they way if they don't feel they need counselling or aren't quite ready yet. Even just knowing that others have been where they are, has sometimes been enough for them to find comfort in their situation.
There are plenty of people in this world who love to help others. That doesn't mean they'll go throwing this kind of support, advice or practical assistance at everyone they meet. It's hard to help someone if you don't know what they need, but if you reach out, if you make mention that something in your life is a little tough right now then others can help lighten your load.
I know I mentioned Facebook before and how you may not wish to splash your entire life across your Facebook feed, but that can work at times. Sometimes I've needed a sitter and am totally out of options and I'll put a shout out on Facebook. I'm often surprised by the people who put their hand up. And I'm not talking about total strangers who I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving my children with, but friends who I trust who I may not have realised would find it convenient or be happy to care for our kids.
A friend of mine has also posted when she was rock bottom, had just separated from her partner and found herself with no money to feed her kids or buy their Christmas presents. She wasn't asking people to help her, just sharing that she was feeling pretty low due to these things taking their toll. You'd better believe that when I turned up at her door with some groceries, meals, clothes and gifts for her children, there were a number of other people doing exactly the same. I would never have known that she needed my help without her having the courage to share. She is now thriving in a new home with a successful new business less than 12 months later.
The point is that we can go to extreme measures to make our lives look perfect. To pretend that nothing is out of place and in fact, keeping up that charade can actually add to our stress. Wouldn't it be easier to say "you know what, I'd love to come for coffee with you, but I can't actually afford life's little luxuries just at the moment" instead of stressing about how you're going to pay or whether or not you can get away with just drinking tap water.
Being perfect might seem like a good idea from the outside but trying to maintain that life or the image of a perfect life usually tends to only lead to stress and even less chance of leading that happy life you're wishing for.
Don't be afraid to open up just a little, even send me a message or email if you like. A problem shared is a problem halved.