In the past eight weeks, one thing has become amazingly clear to me – the human experience has some recurring and very common themes.
I hope everyone finds this as reassuring as I do. Namely, that whatever you are going through, someone else is going through, too – at this very moment.
And someone else. And someone else. And someone else.
And some of them are having an easier time than you and some of them are having a tougher time than you, but the bottom line is, you are not a unique snowflake.
You have commiserators.
You are one in a million!
Which means there are 7,000 of you on the planet.
Two things are discussed in the Foreword of Happiness as a Second Language:
(1) a series of horrible, devastating events that all happened on the same day, and which, in hindsight, were the best things that ever happened to me; and
(2) my attempt – before realizing the upside of those events – to end my own life.
Since this book came out, I have heard from so many people who have had one of those two experiences, or both.
It turns out, it is fairly common for people to get a huge, unexpected jolt to the system that makes them question every choice they’ve ever made. It might be the death of a family member, the departure of a lover, a job loss, an act of God, or something so out of the ordinary, I can’t even think of it right now, but many, many, many of us have been there.
And, it turns out, a handful of us hit a point where we feel we can’t take it anymore, and deeply contemplate, and possibly attempt, and sadly, sometimes succeed at, ending it all.
To anyone in that situation, I can share this: every single day now, I hear from people who, at one time or another, got to that point and now, years later, are SO GRATEFUL that what they tried didn’t work. I know I am.
We are all in this together. Look around – at the other people in your office, at your school, on the bus, going to your church, working out at your gym. Someone has been where you are.
And they’re still here.
And they would want you to know that.