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You Are Not a Bad Person When You Struggle

“woman touching her hair” by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash
“when you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”
— Henry B. Eyring
We all struggle.
We all suffer.
We all have weaknesses.

You, me, and everyone we have ever met or will ever meet is the same way.

Because we are, every last one of us, human.

This imperfect state is our companion all our lives.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not your fault. You did nothing to cause this imperfect state that you are in. You are not accountable for being weak. Life is about what you do with that weakness, and how you help others in their weakness.

Life is like a marathon

Over a year ago I ran my first marathon. I ran over a hundred miles total to be thoroughly prepared for the race.

As race day came, I felt great. I was confident that I had prepared well and would do well.

At mile 13 of the race, however, I felt a pain in my knee that I had not experienced during all of my training. Mile after mile it continued to hurt more. I finished more than an hour and a half later than I had hoped to.

The end of the race was a painful balance between walking and running. You know you’re in trouble when walking doesn’t even offer any respite from the pain.

Going into the final few miles of the race, I felt a strong temptation to beat myself up for the mistakes I had made during the race. But then it hit me.

I didn’t make any mistakes.

I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve or cause the injury. I was tempted to listen to my inner voice saying things like “you should have trained harder, you idiot!” and “you could have done so much more, look at you now!”

I chose to ignore my inner demons, and let the peaceful truth into my heart.

I stopped beating myself up for what was not my fault.

Ignore your inner critic

Your inner critic is fighting you, probably right now, even as you read these words.

Don’t listen.

It’s not your fault that you are imperfect.

It’s not your fault that you struggle.

You are not a bad person because you struggle with your difficulties. You are human. Give yourself a break. Let go of the self-loathing. You deserve better.

Your imperfection is a blessing.

Being imperfect keeps us humble and vulnerable. We need each other because we are imperfect. Inherent within our imperfection is the ability to shine through with courage and faith.

The next time you are tempted to even think of beating yourself up for struggling with something, stop it.

You are not to blame.

You are only human.

And that is okay.

In fact, it is a beautiful, wonderful, thing.