After I decided to end my marriage back in late summer of 2009, I went through a deep deep depression. Even though I was only married for a brief period out of our entire six year relationship, it was the hardest time of my life.
During our relationship I had lost both of my parents and now I was choosing to leave the family I had inherited.
By mid-winter I was a complete downward spiral mess of emotions. I didn’t know which way was up and on top of that there was a four foot blizzard outside that had us stuck in our homes for over a week.
My friend, who had witnessed the choice I decided to make, was thoughtful enough to check in on me every few days to see how I was doing.
During one particular sad sack phone call, I remember exasperatedly stating to her, “I feel like such a Loser!!”
-This was my truth in that moment. I did feel like a complete and total failure. Nothing around me was working no matter how hard I tried. If there was a town called Loserville, I was it’s one pathetic inhabitant.
Even though I am no longer friends with this person I will never forget the lesson she taught me that day.
My friend did not try to pacify me with any canned responses like “Don’t worry everything’s going to be ok” or” Keep your chin up, there are brighter days ahead.”.
While sayings like these do ring true in the bigger picture of things , no one wants to hear that crap when they’re going through the emotional hell of self doubt.
When you are in that type of headspace the future doesn’t really exist anyway, it’s a far away illusion. Nothing else matters except what you are feeling in that moment.
I have come to learn that one of the best things to do for someone living though that sort of experience is to meet them on their level. It’s a simple flip of the script piece of advice that can have powerful effects. And this is exactly what my friend taught me that day.
Her response to my metaphorical, “blizzard” of loser emotions was- “We’re ALL Losers, man…Nobody really knows what they’re doing here. We’re all just winging it.”.
It’s been almost 13 years since that conversation and I can still feel the immense relief I felt upon hearing those words back then.
Having someone meet me precisely where I was in my moment of deepest despair was the exactly the catalyst that helped me find the strength to pick myself back up.
Looking back, the words she said might have seemed silly to an onlooker, but in that moment I felt seen, heard, validated, and not judged for what I was going through. It empowered me and was the closest thing to the true meaning of Grace I can ever remember experiencing. I will never forget it.
I believe all people have their own innate power to pick themselves back up. They just may need a little reassurance to know that the feelings they are experiencing are ok and normal-and that they don’t need to be judged or escaped from.
After all, we don’t need to feel bad for feeling bad because we already feel bad enough!
So often we want to save others from their pain. We want to be superhero supporters of our friends when they are down. Endlessly cheering them on from the home team sidelines. When in reality sometimes all we need is for someone to sit with us, as a fellow teammate, in our muddy pit confusion, even if just for the length of a short phone call.