Motivation Monday: The Shared Path

“No man is an island; entire of itself; Every man is a piece of the continent.”

-John Donne

It’s easy to feel alone sometimes.  We feel as if our feelings of anger, shame, or sadness are ours alone.  The rest of the world, in the meantime, is happy, confident, and energetic.  As a counter to this you’ve probably heard that we compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.  Well not only is that true, but it’s also true that we are not the only ones to feel these emotions.  We, as humans, never realize how much deeper our similarities go than our differences.  We need to be reminded of this every so often.

We are all the same, though we aren’t all John Malkovich.

It’s easy to feel closed off from the world once in awhile, like we are drifting along, alone, with no one to understand us.  But he funny thing is:

“What is most personal is most universal.”

-Carl R. Rogers

Meaning that thing that we think only we do, only we feel, only we experience, is actually something shared deeply by all of us.  We are more similar than different.

I was reminded of this the other day reading a reddit thread about fitness.  The questions was put forward by a user to the entire community, and it basically said “There are those of you out there who have lost weight and gained it all back and then some.  Tell me your story.”

The response was incredible.  Thousands of commenters told their story of yo-yoing back and forth as challenges crept up in their life, major events happened, tragedies happened, and they lost track of their goals.  After awhile it wasn’t even about weight loss and gain, it was about circumstances and hardships.  It reminded me that most people, if not all people, are fighting, and failing.  They lose and lose and lose on their journey through life, just like I do, just like you do.  But we all keep fighting.  Even though our reasons are different.

Social media is often a place where the ‘highlight reel’ is the only thing shown.  You’ll see all of your friends posting happy things, great accomplishments, and success stories, when in reality the majority, who didn’t post, are fighting, struggling, to reach the same milestones.  Occasionally they do, and that’s when it pops up on your feed.  In the broader sense, social media shows victories only.  It only shows success, and carries an air of “They’re successful why the hell aren’t you?”  This causes a lot of people to be far too hard on themselves sometimes, myself included.

But combatting these negative thoughts requires finding companionship with all those other people who feel the same way, but continue to fight.  Because you may be alone, and I may be alone, but together we are alone together.

And somehow that makes it okay.


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