I’m Struggling Too

As I was in the midst of my morning reflections and prayers I noticed that not only were there a lot of people on my list whom I was praying for, but that the vast majority of them are struggling with some very heavy challenges in life.

Maybe it’s dealing with the death of someone they love, a marriage ending, a health crisis they find themselves in, or watching a loved one suffer. Maybe it is worrying endlessly about a struggle their child or parent is dealing with. Maybe they have money issues, demanding bosses, stressful jobs or feel completely burned out from care taking, or trying to meet the demands of everyone else.

Life in general feels heavy and at times very dark to me. And I am learning that I am not alone.

Admitting this publicly feels a bit shameful for me. After all I am the one who gave myself the title of  “Inspirationista”. And now that I am not feeling so inspired, it could make me feel a bit like a fraud.

I mean, “shouldn’t an “inspirationista”, be sharing things make people feel better? Feel inspired?”, I ask myself. 

And my answer back to me is always “yes”.

And because I am not feeling inspired, I just don’t say anything at all. I pull back or I isolate myself from others and that I am finding is not just unhealthy, it’s very lonely too.

Why is it we don’t want anyone to know we are having a hard time?

Why is it we think that if we let others know we are struggling, that it makes us look weak?

Why is it we keep showing up day after day smiling and saying “I’m fine. It’s fine. It’s all good, when it’s clearly not?”

Who is going to be brave enough, authentic enough to admit things aren’t fine? Who will admit we aren’t feeling so great or that life feels heavy?

Right now, I guess that person will be me.

And here’s why I feel bad about feeling bad: 

In general, my life is truly blessed. I have a loving husband and a wonderful son. I live in a nice home, have plenty to eat, have a great job and all my needs are being met. I truly am grateful for it all and yet, I am still struggling.

 All the self help guru’s out there say you can’t feel bad when you are feeling grateful, but yet despite feeling extremely grateful, I am still struggling.

I have great faith in God, and I know “this too shall pass”, and yet I am still struggling.

And I know I can’t be the only one feeling this way, yet I do feel like one of the few willing to admit I am feeling this way.

But here is what I have left out of that blessed life scenario:

  • It’s been four years since the pandemic and I am still feeling its effects. (And I would bet many others are too)
  • It’s been three years since the death of my beloved dog, my precious father, and my best friend from high school and while I am no longer grieving them, there are times I miss them so much, it makes my heart feel heavy. 
  •  I spent the better part of a year helping others deal with their grief, and giving back to the community so much that it left me feeling totally burned out, stressed and so depleted I barely had any energy left for myself.  
  • And for the better part of the past year I have been dealing with an undiagnosed health issue and still don’t feel any closer to any real answers, which makes me feel frustrated and afraid.

Dealing with any of those things would be difficult enough, but compounded, it’s a lot to deal with over a short period of time.

So I may have days when I feel sad, angry, frustrated or a whole other host of emotions.And for the most part, I try to take the ” fake it til you make it” attitude.

But it doesn’t always work.

But you know what does work? 

Actually allowing myself to “go there”. 

Allowing myself to feel sad, or angry or frustrated, or whatever it is I am feeling and express it without judgment.

And you know what? 

It’s ok.

Not only is it ok, it is perfectly normal.

Except for the fact that we (personally and as a society) don’t want to see, believe or accept that it’s normal. Not to mention how emotions can also make us feel uncomfortable.

And as humans, we don’t like things that make us feel uncomfortable.

People want us to feel alright.

People don’t want to see us struggle.

And as a result people may try to downplay our pain or make us feel weak or flawed when we share our pain.

So we try desperately to be alright..

We try not to not feel those emotions, or maybe I should say, express those emotions to ourselves or others.

Many of us may try to numb them through drugs, food, alcohol, work or working out. Or we put on a brave face, smile and say “I’m fine”.

And while this may work for a while, it won’t work forever.


Because something else is going to come along in life that is going to challenge you, and eventually those unfelt, unexpressed emotions are either going to blow up in your face or they will begin to fester inside of you, which can lead to illness, or lasting feelings of bitterness, resentment, blame, helplessness, hopelessness and maybe even depression.

I am all about being positive, reframing my thinking, practicing gratitude, journaling, praying, and meditating.

But I am also all about getting better at being real and normalizing, feeling, and accepting the expression of emotions and feelings that we need to feel and express so they don’t pile up and poison us from the inside out. Because when I look at what is going on in the world, I see a lot of hurting people, hurting other people.

So what would happen if we all took the time to own our own shit and do the work we need to do to move through it? 

What would happen if we actually felt those emotions instead of stuffing them down or numbing them?

What would happen if we were brave enough to ask for or seek help?

What would happen if we recognized that all people at one time or another will be facing incredibly difficult challenges in life and pitched in to help them instead of judging them?

What would happen if we let others see that we are not perfect and are struggling too?

What if we stopped playing the “I’m fine, it’s fine” game, and sat down with each other and had open and honest and difficult conversations that could lead to understanding, hope and healing?

What if we could sit with, listen to, and hold sacred space for others and their pain and struggles?

What would happen if we started to feel better and showed others what was working for us, so we could help others feel better too?

I don’t have all the answers right now. I’m not sure I ever will. But these are some great questions to ponder.

One thing I can tell you is that I will never give up hope for a better tomorrow for myself or others and if that is the only inspiration I can share with you today, I’m good with that.

If this resonates with you, please let me know. You can reach me at Sherrie@sherriedunlevy.com

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