Mar 112014 10 Responses

When You Feel What No One Else Has Ever Felt

It is a universal feeling to believe you feel like no one has ever felt before.

Remember the first time you really talked to someone of the opposite sex at length. For my generation it was late at night on the phone. For today’s generation it might be late at night through Instagram or SnapChat. Either way the base feeling is the same. The communication stops and you think no one has ever felt this way before.

Of course the truth is that everyone has felt this way before. (See: A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments)

Feelings of uniqueness are universal.

The good news of this fact is that:

whenever you feel most alone, you probably aren’t alone.

whenever you feel the most misunderstood, there are probably many people who know exactly how you feel.

whenever you think no one is going through what you are going through, there is probably someone very close to you going through the same thing.

While the feeling of uniqueness is universal, it can harbor a great danger.

When we assume no one has ever felt what we are feeling, we can quickly conclude something is uniquely wrong with us.

Good news—rarely is something uniquely wrong with you. For most people, every problem they ever face is not unique.

On a regular basis I will listen to someone going through a difficult time. They will express what they are feeling. And almost without fail they all say the same thing.

Yet not knowing they are normal, they draw the dangerous conclusion that they are uniquely messed up. This can have disastrous consequences. (See: What I Mean When I Say ‘You Are a Sinner’)

  • A wrist can be slit
  • A marriage can be ended
  • An addiction can remain hidden

All because a person assumes no one else will understand or believes that if anyone finds out, he will be ostracized.

The danger of thinking we are unique is that it might prevent us from reaching out, getting help, communicating our emotions, or asking if anyone else has ever felt this way before.

One of my favorite moments when working with people is to match them up with someone going through a similar issue. I love it when two people begin to share experiences and suddenly they realize and often say, “I am not alone.”

They aren’t alone. You aren’t alone. (See: When You Feel All Alone)

This might be bad news for some, but it’s the truth—we really aren’t that unique. While there might be some minor differences in each one of us, our general make-up is the same. We may not struggle with exactly the same thing, but we all struggle. We might not feel in identical ways about the same issues, but different issues do create similar feelings within all of us.

We really aren’t that unique, and in the end, that is great news. It means we are never alone; we are never beyond hope. And help is often closer than we realize.

Whatever you are feeling, so is someone else. Wherever you are, so is someone else. The bad news is that no one will know it until someone has the courage to say it.

Be that someone.

Reach out.

Be honest.

Tell someone how you feel and what you think. (See: You Don’t Have to Do It on Your Own)

But don’t be surprised when your words speak right to the experience of someone else.

For more, see:

7 Recommend Books for When Life Hurts

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