You know when somebody says something that just totally shifts your thinking? One of those phrases was when my old boss, Kate, years ago said to me:
'Stop comparing your inside to everyone else's outside'.
Ping! That was the noise my brain made. Suddenly, I realised that's exactly what I'd been doing all my life. Looking at how calm, together, organised, happy and fecking PERFECT everyone else seemed to be, then looking at my own messy insides and feeling like I was never going to measure up.
I realised that everyone, (yup, everyone) around me was struggling with life, usually way more than it appeared on the outside. That everyone is pretty messy and full of worry, doubt and that sort of stuff on the inside no matter what their outside looked like.
I also realised that's why I love art so much. Art is one of the only ways we get to take a little peek inside somebody else's heart and mind. It makes us feel less alone, less like the odd one out. It made me realise pretty much everyone feels that way pretty much all of the time.
In fact, when I examine my feelings of exclusion, being different and an outsider, I realise that under the negative feelings there's more than a little bit of ego in the mix. I'm more messed up, therefore special. My pain is deeper, more valid than everyone else's.
Except it really, really isn't - as you of course know!
Another great saying, attributed to Plato, us 'Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.'
It's a good one to remember, and I do try to remember it.