The Helpful Hurting


I got a text message from a friend last week that shared some of her struggles with feelings of inadequacy and lack of self worth.


Without hearing her voice, the pain spoke loudly. She’s a strong, loving, capable woman who is as dear to my heart as a friend can be. And it breaks my heart to know of her struggles.


But knowing her pain also brings me joy.


The nasty truth of depression is that it lies. It tells us that because we are feeling “less than” that it means we are less. But nothing could be further from the truth.


We bury our pain so no one will see the truth. The thinking goes (at least in my own mind) that if they see how much we’re struggling, the less they’ll love us and the less they’ll think of us.


But have you ever thought of the gift you give by reaching out?


I know in that moment, when my friend hit the “send” button, all kinds of grief and guilt sprang up. The “what if’s” clouded her mind and I’m sure some voice deep within told her how “selfish” she was for “burdening” me with her pain.


But like I said before, knowing her pain brought me joy. Don’t get me wrong - I found no satisfaction whatsoever in her suffering. But the ability to shoulder the burden and lift up a dear friend lifted me up. It gave me purpose, in a week where I was struggling with feelings of inadequacy and questioning the impact I was really having on those around me.


Knowing I could lift her up lifted me up. It also gave me the courage to speak out at a time when I was tempted to stay silent about my own struggles.


I don't know about you, but I’m more inclined to shy away from those who have it all together. I don’t need competition - I stress myself out enough as it is.


My strongest friendships have come from times of my deepest pain, when those who had no business loving me did in the most real and incredible ways. My best friends have emerged when I said “I’m struggling with this,” and they said “Hey, me, too!”


We aren’t meant to go through this life alone. We aren’t designed to weather storms or triumphs or any other season. We’ll always struggle, but there’s no way to “win” if we stay in isolation.


Human connection is essential to the soul. Maybe it’s too difficult to form the words to share your struggle - but would a text do? Maybe sharing anything is too overwhelming - but could you be there for someone else?


Not everyone is the right person to hear your pain, but the right person will find joy in the opportunity to walk alongside you.


Reaching out isn’t the selfish act your depression tells you it is. It’s an opportunity to give another person renewed purpose.


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