I have an out-of-town friend who has been going through a really tough time lately. Her biggest struggle is always trying to put on a happy face for her children and her new group of friends. When I asked her why she couldn’t be herself around these new girlfriends and confide in them, she smirked, “Oh you mean the perfect girls? My friends with the perfect hair and the perfect clothes? The ones with the amazing husbands and all-star kids? The ones whose biggest problems are where they will go on vacation next summer? No, I would never let them know how bad my life is right now!”
For those of you who may have found yourselves in a similar situation, I’ve got a little secret. These women are not perfect either. Nine times out of ten I can guarantee you that they all have issues, struggles and problems of their own.
Things may look great on the outside, and your “perfect friend” may put on a good show. The show may be because she is embarrassed, or it may just be because when she is out with her girlfriends it is the only time she feels alive. She is happy and content at that very moment and wants to enjoy that little sliver of life when she can forget her other troubles and be with those who love her.
But underneath the mask, you would be surprised to find out who is actually on their way to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, or who has credit cards maxed out beyond any numbers you can comprehend, or who is trying to avoid going home because their husband has been unfaithful or abusive. You would be surprised to find out who is on their way to counseling for a recent issue or even something that happened years ago that still weighs heavily on her mind. You would be surprised, because I have been surprised many times as well. I’ve been surprised by the people who seemed so happy & content on the outside but then shared their struggles and confided that the world wasn’t quite as good as they made it seem.
Of course there are also those women who may not have a huge burden right now and really are at a moment in their lives where everything seems to be going perfectly. But that is not a reason for you to feel inferior.
I had a couple motives in sharing this blog today. First of all, when you feel that you are at your lowest point, know that there is always someone who has been there. Confide in a friend. If you don’t have a friend you want to tell, talk to a counselor. Secondly, know that when you do share your problems, you will not be judged. You will not be judged because the friend you tell has probably carried a cross of her own and has struggled just as you are struggling.Thirdly, no one expects you to be Super Mom. We seem to put that on ourselves.
Have you ever heard this saying? “If we all wrote down our problems to give away and threw them into a bowl, and passed them around to others, most of us would choose to take our own problems back.”
Next time you are trying to fill the shoes of your perfect friend, remember that more than likely, she is not perfect either. Who knows – maybe you are the one that others view as the perfect friend!
*Photos taken by Kathy Miller at One Shot Photography