Nope, Not Alone

Due to this beloved blog, I am constantly reminded of something so beautiful about this life:  none of us are alone in the challenges we face!!! 

It can be so, so very easy to look at your life and say…”Ugh… How on earth did I get stuck with this?!?!” It’s so easy to believe that your situation is so unique. That life is so unfair. And I think a reason for that is because people are so dang private most of the time. Most people try to face things behind the curtain. And so there we all are, behind our curtain cubicles from floor to ceiling, feeling like we are the only ones standing.

This blog, though, has brought human connection out of the woodwork. From where I stand, I get to know for a fact that NONE OF US ARE ALONE. There are just loads of people out there going through something similar. And so, I just have to shout from the rooftops – have the courage to be vulnerable with those around you with whom you’d like to connect with! Share your life. Put yourself out there. It will lift the curtain. And you’ll see a room full of people.

Do you feel alone in what you’re facing? Feel free to leave an anonymous comment here, if you’d like. Perhaps you could see that many feel similarly.

With Love,

Isn’t this photo perfect for today? It’s by the wonderful photographer and instagrammer, Melissa Hope

Join in and register now for our Body+Soul Camp in Ecuador Oct. 11-17. We’ll teach you the nitty gritty of how to be deeply happy. We’ll teach you tools for living your BEST life! Mentoring also available here. We decided to extend our Labor Day price of $75 until Sunday night (though any appointments booked at this price can be for the future.) 

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  1. M. September 10, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Wow, I SO needed to read that today … Recently I have developed a crush on someone. Of course my friends keep telling me that "in the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take" and encourage me to ask him out but it's easier said than done. I'm so shy that I simply cannot imagine myself doing that. No matter how much I'd like to be able to.
    So yeah, the feeling of life being unfair or the need to keep my feelings a secret – I know exactly what you're writing about. And I would really like to be able to "lift the curtain". I'm just so scared of getting hurt…
    But just reading this post helped me remember that I am not alone in all this. Thank you 🙂

    • mara September 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      I'm rooting for you!! And I love the topic you brought up. I think the majority of people ARE so scared to love fully and openly – they're scared of rejection or scared of getting hurt. Ah, it can be so hard. But I say make this experience a "practice" of vulnerability. Focus more on being who you want to be and exuding/extending what you want to exude. (Instead of letting the fear of rejection hold you back.) We call this "love for the sake of loving" – do it because you're trying to remain true to who you want to be. 🙂 I know it's easier said than done. And I'm sure we all have areas where we could work on this more. I know I do, too. Much love! xoxo

    • Heather September 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      A former boss of mine always said, "a NO is better than a MAYBE"…would never letting this person you have a crush on (and seeing him move on with someone who did let him know) feel worse than sharing what you feel? If he says NO (thank you), well, you'll live and move on, and at least you'll know. No biggie, you'll find someone else who feels the same way about you. Don't waste your time…go for it!

    • M. September 11, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      Mara, Heather – thank you for your kind words and encouragement! Today I mustered all my courage, told him that I liked him, asked whether he would like a coffee sometime and, lo and behold, he said "sure" 🙂

    • mara September 11, 2015 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      Yay, yay, YAY. haha. I am beaming over here and so excited. HAVE FUN. And go in with the idea that even if he doesn't seem interested, you'll still dish out your best self, your true self. Because that is what matters most! That is what you would want anyway in a healthy relationship. Do it in honor of the healthy relationship you'd love to have some day. Put the identity of being a woman of LOVE above the identity of having a relationship. You've got this! 🙂 XOXO

    • Heather September 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Awesome! Good for you! Hope you had fun!

  2. Anonymous September 10, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Mara & Danny! Your blog has been a lifesaver for me over the years. These days, I find myself trying my best to choose happiness and press on in life. I know I am not alone, however I do definitely feel alone often. I have a 2 year old daughter and no mom friends, no matter how much effort I make for play dates for her, etc. My husband and I are going through a rough patch and no matter how much effort I make, he just doesn't. I am not relying on him for self worth or happiness but life would be so much better for our family if he could step things up. We recently lost our grandfather, and now I am helping my elderly, disabled mom with her siblings as they keep trying to find sneaky ways to rob her of her (small, but much needed) inheritance. It's heartbreaking and hard to see and feel negative emotions from these people as they say harmful and hurtful things and lash out. Again, the feelings of being alone in all of this creep in often. But. I press on and see all I am truly blessed with. I know this time will pass and I am strong and on the right path. It's hard sometimes. Knowing I can come to your blog and feel love. From strangers! It's amazing. Thank you many times over for what you are doing here on your blog and in life. You are helping so many more lives than you know. I'm certain of it. Please say a little prayer for me! Love to you both and sweet Sila, and to all of your readers.

    • mara September 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      hello dear – sending a prayer now. This was such a tender and heart felt note. Thank you for sharing!! May you have the strength and energy you need. Sending lots of love your way!!

  3. Anonymous September 10, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    So appreciate this, though I find much difficulty in discussing my trials publicly. I was raised to believe that you should only share the good things in your life, because no one likes a complainer. Personal matters are private, I was told, and totally inappropriate to discuss with others. Most of the people in my world have no idea my sister has cancer, or that I've been struggling through infertility For the past 4 years, or that I have awful bouts of anxiety. I try to balance out the negative in my life with all the positives – a beautiful relationship with my hubby, an adorable dog to keep me company, and a financially stable, fulfilling job. But at times, I wish I had someone to relate to. I often feel bad for my husband as he's the only one I'll discuss these matters of the heart with – that's a heavy burden to carry. In any regards, thanks for posting this and letting me get it all out.

    • mara September 11, 2015 at 12:08 am - Reply

      YAY! You did it! Thanks for sharing here. It means a lot to hear of your story and to get a glimpse into your life. You undoubtedly have so many stories, heartaches, laughs, lessons, triumphs, failures, and experiences to share. One idea: join a support group. They're actually amazing! There is one in NYC called Friends in Deed. It's 100% free and they have different topics on different nights (they also have topics related to cancer). I went there with a friend whose child had passed. It was absolutely beautiful to see these people coming together. Danny and I have wanted to go back every since. Perhaps there is something like it in your area. Another friend experienced deaths of her siblings due to suicide and also had a support group of people who were in the same situation. She says it was her LIFELINE – more than any other source, including her spouse and her family. Anyway, I think support groups like this are actually AMAZING resources that I think most people don't even know about.

      Also, another idea is to write! Write out your experiences, if you can. (I couldn't at one point in my life, so I understand if this doesn't seem possible.) But ultimately, I think it can be a great way to express, to feel, to organize your thoughts, to share – even if you're not sharing with an actual person (yet 🙂 Sending much love to you!! Mara

  4. Anonymous September 10, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Mara, I started reading your blog when I first got married. I wasn't diagnosed with infertility until several years after reading your blog. (Perhaps it was meant to be!) All my friends have kids, and many of them are pregnant again. As much as they try to understand me (and how wonderful that they try), it's impossible to really know what this is like unless you walk in these shoes. I try to focus on what I do have, but I have this ache in my heart that doesn't feel filled. I constantly feel like I'm missing out on something, and that makes me feel so alone. Birthdays and holidays used to make me excited, but now they bring me pains of anxiety. Holidays are reminders of families getting together and a lack of little ones running around, and birthdays feel like a clock ticking away any years where having a baby is possible.

    • mara September 10, 2015 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      Hello dear. I'm so sorry for this weight you feel. It truly is so, so hard – and truly does affect pretty much every aspect of life. And yes, holidays and birthdays, too! Goodness.
      One idea is to try and find a community – even one or two people – who you can relate to. And it may not even be an infertility community. Perhaps a running club. Or a book night or ladies biz night or cross-stitching night. Perhaps you could even start something yourself! Anyway, I know that having a community is worth GOLD for this kind of thing. I was so lucky to have a church community in Brooklyn. That was incredible. And this blog community is freaking extraordinary. Anyway, I send you my love and sisterhood and hope. And know that you are not alone.

  5. Emily September 10, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    My depression tells me ALL THE TIME that I am alone and no one loves me and no one cares. While I'm on a leave of absence from work, I have put up post its on my wall at home, each with the name of someone who sent me well-wishes when they heard the news (that I was taking a month off for my mental health). I look at it all the time, both to remember the specific names and to tell my demons "see? People DO love me. I AM NOT ALONE!" 🙂

    • mara September 10, 2015 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      Emily – I LOVE this so, so much!! Thank you for sharing your life and thank you for sharing this amazing technique! So powerful! I'm so thankful for you and your comments and that you've been a part of this community over the years. Thank you so much.

      Also, your post it notes remind me of something I did after my divorce. All my favorite little Brooklyn friends (like age 5 and under) had been drawing me pictures. I started to FILL a kitchen wall with all of their drawings. Then I added cards that people had sent me. Or photos of people that I loved. It became a wall just full of people who loved me, and whom I loved. And even though I was all alone in that home for quite awhile, it felt very comforting and homey and loving to have that wall.

    • Anonymous September 11, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      I love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Anonymous September 10, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    I do always wish people would be more upfront about "private" matters. It would definitely let people feel less alone. I live in a community where everyone seems pretty "perfect", (and pretty), and parent teacher night is like a fashion show (mesh!). It's actually a bit of a turn off! Be real folks!

    • mara September 10, 2015 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      YESSS. Love this. Be real. Let's all try to do that more. I'm IN.

  7. Kellie Hardin September 10, 2015 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    Facing infertility does feel like a lonely road, especially when you're a young married LDS woman and all of your friends suddenly have three children. Sometimes it feels like there's not a place for me in my beloved culture. But, I am making a place for myself.

    • mara September 10, 2015 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Kellie, I feel for you – I really do! I think in NYC, the church culture was a little unique as so many people were doing non-traditional things. So it was easier to just dive in and feel equally a part of everything even though I didn't have children. But I know it's not so easy in other areas. I wish you all the best as you continue to make a place for yourself! Also, I think everyone is essentially trying to feel comfortable in their own skin. You'll inspire many along the way.

  8. Anonymous September 11, 2015 at 12:09 am - Reply

    Having two little boys with a neuromuscular disease is definitely lonely. There is literally no one around me with this challenge and it is very visible to everyone. Two little boys in wheelchairs gets lots of attention whenever we go out. It is hard to never be invited to things since my boys can't do things their kids do like play at the park. They can just watch the other kids play and since their minds are bright and social and just like any other child their age, it is just hurtful to them to watch everyone do what they can't. People often avoid talking to me because I think they are afraid they will say something wrong or they are afraid of being uncomfortable since our lives are so different. Although there are moments of joy in this journey, it is quite lonely.

    • Miggy September 11, 2015 at 3:28 am - Reply

      Hi Anon! I didn't even get 3 sentence in before I writing this little note… I just want to raise my hand and say, I understand this! Me! Here I am! I have a little girl with limb differences (missing her left arm, etc) who also drives a power chair and yeah…getting stared at everywhere we go is a very weird normal that we also live with. And while my daughter can do certain things–she can't walk, but is scoots and is mobile to a certain degree–I TOTALLY get the park thing…it's usually not that fun for us to go to a park. I even remember some good friends who I love and adore complaining about pushing their kids on the swings and I wanted to laugh out loud because hello? What about helping your 5 year old still do any and everything on the playground? They didn't mean anything by it and I wasn't offended, it just served to remind me how different my world can be. I actually feature a lot of families and kids with disabilities on my blog if you want to pop over and read any stories…I know it's helped me feel less along over the years. XO.

    • Anonymous September 14, 2015 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks Miggy! It is nice to feel like someone understands. I will definitely check out your blog. Here is a Facebook page for my boys if you want to check them out.

  9. Anonymous September 11, 2015 at 6:54 am - Reply

    I love the opportunity to reach out, as I have been having a struggle letting my almost 18 year old daughter live the life she wants. She is my baby, and taking a completely different path than the rest of her family. She is a wonderful creative spark of joy in our life. It is painful watching her tear herself away from our church community and making different choices. I don't want to judge or shame her because she wants different things for herself than we want for her. But what I'm realizing is that her confidence in expressing herself differently from us shows the strong foundation and sense of self which is our purpose as parents in the first place! Instead of celebrating that, I have been taking things personally which causes conflict internally for me, and externally for our family. I'm KNOW I'm not the first mom who is having difficulty with this transition, nor will I be the last. It's tough letting go, tougher to accept differences and hard not to judge and see the "errors" and not be joyous that our daughter is her own person. I want so desperately to continue to connect to her and show her increased love despite our differences. I want her to know she will always be our beloved child, even if she doesn't follow a prescribed "path". I want to continue to nourish our relationship and even make that transition to a more adult one where she knows that we love her and accept her but she can make her own choices without us as parents being judged. Difficult balances, but I'm never giving up.

    • mara September 13, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      I LOVE that you're working through this. And I love all the sentiments you are working towards. I think you are very much not alone in this. I know in the Mormon church, many, many people are shifting and following paths that are perhaps not the scripted path. And that involves many parents or spouses learning to react to loved ones who are on a different path. I say, the ONLY way to truly love is to offer the acceptance, confidence, and celebration of a human being. (Basically all the beautiful love-filled sentiments you shared!) Everything else is shaming, fear, manipulation, controlling, judging. That only leads to fear and shame in yourself and also in your daughter. It only leads to distance and a lack of connection and and a lack of closeness/togetherness and love. So…..You've got this. I see you already know what you need to do. This is AMAZING! This can be THE BEST experience of your life-because you'll learn how to love in a higher way. Not a way that includes fear and shaming (that is the opposite of love, the opposite of God.) Sending much love to you!! You can do this! And it's worth the work. XOXO

    • Anonymous September 14, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      Thank you Mara! It's like a shout into the void, and them a beautiful someone responds. Thank you…. I will continue. Thank you for validating what I know to be true. <3

  10. Anonymous September 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    If there was one takeaway I've received from being a long-time reader is that you gave me a place to feel like I was not alone in my infertility struggles. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • mara September 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      I am so thrilled to hear that. Yes, you are not alone. 🙂
      Lot of love to you.

  11. Anonymous September 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    I recently was diagnosed with intrusive thought OCD. It took me several weeks to even be able to admit that. I recently started seeing a therapist for what I thought was anxiety and she pegged me the first time. It was hard and not something I wanted to accept about myself. I had struggled with scrupulosity for years not knowing what it really was. Now I am dealing with other thoughts. While in a way it is nice to know that I have a disorder to explain things, on the other hand it is hard to accept that I'm not "normal". We just moved across the country with three little kids and some days I feel very alone trying to process everything.

    • mara September 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Hello dear – Sometimes I get a bit behind in responding to comments so I do hope you see this. I just want to say: I send you love and acceptance – just the way you are. Don't feel abnormal. We ALL have things that would make us seem less normal or unique. So you're in good company with everyone. I had to remind myself that after the divorce. I said over and over, "I have divorce right now. Someone else has melanoma. Someone else lost their job. Someone else has depression. Someone else has a child in the hospital. Basically, we're all in this together." 🙂

      I also have a soft spot for OCD due to a past loved one and also a past boss. I want to say, congrats on getting a diagnosis! That's HUGE and can be so helpful as you move forward. I'm sure your therapist is filling you in, but know that there are insanely good techniques out there that can relieve some of that anxiety and help you manage the OCD. I've seen first hand a person's transformation by applying some of those techniques. Though it's likely it will require some upkeep – and maintenance. So it's just like the love and happiness practices we talk about on the blog…it's all techniques you go back to over a lifetime. Sometimes you get rusty, but then you know the system to go back to. Also, perhaps find a support group online or in person. Don't be ashamed of who you are! See this as a way to connect with and have compassion for others who face similar challenges – and also learn from others.

      Also, one of the techniques that worked pretty well (this came from a top, specialized OCD therapist in NY who trained me how to handle situations when the OCD would spike in my loved one)…You try to make LIGHT of the situation. It diffuses the tension/anxiety/discomfort for the one suffering. Those around you can help with this when they see a spike arising. An example: Let's say someone was severely anxious over the amount of their spouse's arm hair, even though the arm hair appeared normal to everyone else. When a spike arises, the person could say, "Yes, you are RIGHT. This is a lot of arm hair, indeed! In fact, the zoo heard about me. And I'm going to be their new exhibit next week." Anyway, that's just one example. And it will look different depending on the type of OCD. The idea is to have your family help you make light of the situation. Anyway, you could maybe mention this technique to your therapist and see what she thinks.

      I send you love and good wishes for this next chapter!

  12. Stephanie September 19, 2015 at 3:44 am - Reply

    Thank you! I am having a lot of difficulty with what is to come in the next few weeks. My husband walked out on me about 4 months ago. We were together 13 years (married almost 7). He won't talk to me at all and it was not expected. Our 7 year wedding anniversary is coming up and then 5 days later I our divorce will be final. I am feeling numb. Alone. None of my friends are divorced and I am the first going through this and it is not easy. I know I am blessed and praise God for the family and friends I have and them being here. However, I still feel alone in my feelings.

    • Anonymous September 20, 2015 at 4:28 am - Reply

      Love to you

  13. Kirsten October 8, 2015 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I started reading this blog several years ago. My marriage was going very badly, but I wanted to keep trying to make it work…especially for our young daughter. Finally, just over a year ago, I told my husband that I couldn't be married to him anymore. He spent the next 6 months living in the basement, refusing to move out. After about a month of that horrible arrangement, he decided that I couldn't be leaving for any reason other than that I'd found someone else. He searched my belongings and "built a case" against me. He finally moved out when we signed a separation agreement that left me with the mortgage payment, paying his health insurance until divorce, our daughter's tuition, and child support. He took our dogs and my daughter half the time. He has told his side of the story to all his family, who no longer talk to me (we've been married 12 years and together for 16), and to all our friends who will listen. I have had a very hard time adjusting to being what feels like a part-time mother. I have several friends who are divorced, but I don't know any who don't have full custody. I feel like the price of freedom was so great.

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