When I was younger my mum pointed out that I suffer from what she called the "everybody else effect". You know, when you assume "everybody else" around you is doing fine, doing better than you, "everybody else" you know has got it all together and "everybody else" knows exactly what they are doing. She showed me that this was not only very far from the truth but was really self-destructive, it was putting way too much pressure on me as I was comparing myself to a fake reality so of course I'd never feel like I matched up because that standard just simply didn't exist.
I still do this today, sometimes I catch myself and take control of the thought but other times I more than prove worthy of my lifetime membership to the over-thinkers club! I'm still hugely critical of myself and still compare myself, my life and my decisions to others. This has become more of an issue recently, when health challenges have once again meant that what I would choose to do and how I would choose my life to be is very different to what I have to do and how I have to be, so the gap between my own life and the "everybody else" image seems even bigger than before.
I took the decision early last year to be more open about my health and how it affects me. This blog is one way I do this, another is to be more open with friends and share my worries. By doing this and talking through concerns and fears, I've been reassured to hear that my assumptions and worries are not only unfounded but in many cases those members of "everybody else" I thought had it all together and all figured out, have the same doubts and worries as I do, face different but still challenging issues and in some cases had viewed me in a way I had never seen myself - positive, together and strong. What?! It turns out I was an "everybody else" to someone else, who knew?!?!
As I continue to accept my new life, the changes it has brought and what that means for me, as well as understanding that everyone's journey really is very different and that no-one ever really knows what everybody else is going through, I remind myself what my mum taught me and that in the end I really am no different to everybody else I know.
The truth is everybody else is scared sometimes, doubts themselves and makes mistakes.
Everybody else has felt the odd one out, has misunderstood others and been misunderstood.
We've all hurt someone and been hurt and everyone has lied, has secrets and broken promises.
We all gets things wrong and don't know how to do things.
Everybody cries, needs support, help and love.
We've all felt lost and loss.
We've all missed out or didn't make it, gave up or lost it.
We're not alone in any of this.
None of us are perfect, we just weren't built that way. We all have flaws, we all get it wrong sometimes and we all have challenges to face, some a lot more than others of course and some face challenges you'll never have yourself or be able to fully understand. The lessons I've learnt from my "everybody else" issues is to try and give myself a break (at least every once in a while!), be patient with others (I cannot ever know all they are facing) and try, whenever I can to help others with their challenges, starting with taking the time and effort to understand what those challenges might be. This is not to say I get all this right myself..... far from it! Remember, I'm not perfect either.. and that's okay, because everybody else is exactly the same.