We know our private thoughts. And it often feels like we’re the only one to struggle with the challenges we face. But once we open up, we soon realize our shared experience with many others.
Of course, our story is unique and no one shares our exact experiences.
And, to be sure, there is loneliness here. No one else has lived our life and this leaves us alone in being completely understood by another.
But while the particulars vary, there are often many core experiences we share with others.
In fact, many of our cultural and group identities are based on these shared experiences – having some things in common with some others.
But this is not limited to our social distinctions.
For instance, as we talk with other men we soon realize we’re not the only one to struggle with deep inner doubts and insecurities – secretly wondering if we measure up.
It’s not a coincidence that penis enlargement spam is so popular. This speaks to the fear many of us have of not measuring up, which goes much deeper than literal size.
For some this fear plays out at work. And for others it’s in their personal relationships or simply in the ability to handle life competently without making a fool of themselves.
Again, the particulars will vary, but there’s still a shared experience of wanting to know we have what it takes.
And there are likely countless other core experiences we share with others.
We must take the risk to share our stories and to be known. This opens the door for mutual support and encouragement.
On the other hand, the loneliness eventually becomes overwhelming and crippling when we assume no one can understand and we just keep to ourselves.
Open to the many shared experiences with others. This is the path of healing and hope.
Photo by Phil Coffman on Unsplash