Inside out?

I have a quote on the wall in my office. It says “nobody’s got it all figured out”. I like it very much because it gives me comfort when I haven’t got a clue what to do or when I’m feeling bad. The truth is, I definitely don’t have it all figured out. Neither does that person I jealously watch. You know then one who looks like they have got it made…the one who looks like they are just smoothly skating through life, getting the good marks, lots of friends, just the right balance of activities and fun and doing lots of interesting things. Even they haven’t got it all figured out. (Trust me on this, I’m a doctor!)

The problem is, we compare our insides with everyone else’s outsides. At Headspace Guildford (and in my NHS job) I see so, so, so many children and young people (and parents) who are struggling with this – it’s what we do. We see people who look like they are doing so well and we berate ourselves because we feel like we are not.

Being a Clinical Psychologist is an incredible privilege because children and young people and parents all let me have an insight into what is going on inside them. So I get to see that really, no one does have it all figured out. We’re all struggling with stuff and we are all looking at everyone else and thinking they are so much better than us. As a psychologist, it is very humbling to be a part of that, especially because mostly, the people I see are doing incredibly well despite whatever feelings they are struggling with and despite thinking that they aren’t doing well at all.

The problem is, when we don’t feel that good about ourselves then we make ourselves feel even worse by criticising ourselves for feeling bad – it’s like a double whammy.

So my point for this blog is simple. Everyone feels bad sometimes – even the people who look like they are sailing through life. If you are struggling, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, that you are weak or that you are a bad person. It’s just life. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it hurts.

Hang in there. Be kind to yourself. And when someone else is struggling, be kind to them too. Nobody has it all figured out.

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