Have you ever walked down the street and looked into the eyes of people walking by you? I mean, really looked.
Most people are looking down (if they’re not looking at their phones). They look angry. Stressed. Depressed. And I bet if you walked up to any one of those people and asked them “How are you doing today?” they would pep up, put on a smile and say “I’m doing good!”
We are all a bunch of liars.
Every one of us is hurting. Deeply. And our pain is just beneath the surface. Some of us stuff it down more than others, but we all have that nagging feeling in our stomachs.
It’s the feeling that tells us we are alone. The feeling that tells us we aren’t ok.
It’s the fear that people don’t like us. It’s the fear that people may discover the real us, and abandon us forever.
Yet we go out into the world and tell everyone we are fine. And why wouldn’t they believe us?
We smile. Then we tell some self deprecating joke to lighten the mood. If it gets really bad, we will ask them how they are doing to take the attention off of ourselves.
What we really want to do is start crying, find someone to give us a hug and tell us it’s going to be ok.
Yet we don’t do it. We don’t ask for help.
We ignore our emotions. Tell ourselves we are ok. And then some tiny, little thing will go wrong and the next thing you know we are in a pint of ice cream crying asking…
You’re hurt, that is what happened.
Someone hurt you a long time ago. Probably a lot of different people. It all starts when we are kids. Someone does something awful to us, even if they don’t mean to. Then we get programmed with some misinformation about ourselves (ie “I’m stupid” or “I’m ugly”) then we choose to believe it. Since we believe these lies, we attract people into our lives that will help reinforce them.
It’s crazy, right? We actually bring the people into our lives who make us feel the worst.
And then what happens? You become full of resentment, fear and shame. The next thing you know you are 35, walking down the street staring at the ground. Angry. Stressed. Depressed.
So what is the truth?
We never talk about this stuff. We are so scared to. We think that if we share our deepest, darkest secrets with another human, they would think we were nuts. At best, they would make fun of us. At worst, they would have us arrested or committed.
The opposite is actually true. Think about it. Since we are all walking around with this stuff, we are all waiting for the same thing.
We are desperately waiting for someone to open up to us and tell us their deepest, darkest secret.
Once someone opens up to us, then we feel like we can finally open up to them. We realize we are not the only one with secrets. We are not alone. We are not broken. We are just human.
Once we open up and share our secrets with someone, three things happen.
We get relief
The other person gets relief
The other person usually reacts with understanding and empathy because they have similar feelings and we both discover we are not alone.
All the pain we are holding onto can be let go through a simple conversation with another human being.
But someone has to go first.
The world is waiting to hear your story. Your deepest, darkest secrets could save someone’s life. Your deepest shame could be someone else’s hope. That is what you have inside of you. The opportunity to change or even save someone’s life.
We have to stop lying.
What if we started being totally honest with the next person who asked us how we were doing? Imagine how freeing that would be.
That is how you change the world. One honest conversation at a time.