You may be struggling to keep your head above water, doing everything you can to keep going each day.

You may have let some of your regular duties slide. Your house may not be as clean as you would like. There is laundry, dirty and clean, in piles and baskets. You fed your family cereal for breakfast more times than you can count because you haven’t had the strength to cook.

You may be struggling with depression. You may have a physical illness, maybe even cancer. You may be under an extreme amount of pressure at your job. Everybody is always wanting more and more from you.

And you, you may be disappointed in yourself. You may be beating yourself up. Wondering why don’t you just get it together and deal with it all. I have been in that place myself. When I was close to my breakdown, I pushed and pushed myself, continually pushing beyond my physical and emotional limits because I thought I should be able to “do better”. To handle it all.

Extending grace and compassion to a friend

If you had a friend who was going through what you are and she actually let you know it, you would extend love and compassion to her, and grace, lots of grace. You wouldn’t condemn her for not being able to “do it all”.

You would offer to listen. You would tell her not to worry about the house and the kids, they are tough and will get through. That a steady diet of cereal for a few weeks never hurt anyone long-term.

You would tell her it is okay to be exhausted. It is understandable with everything she is going through. You would tell her to say NO to some things, even if they seem important at the time, and just go to bed.

You would suggest that she get some help, from her husband, her parents, her friends. And that it is okay to ask for help. It doesn’t mean she is weak, or not as good as others because she is having difficulty coping.

You would recommend that she go to the doctor and be under good medical care. And that she follow her doctor’s advice.

You would tell your good friend these things. You would wrap your arms around her and let her cry if needed.

You would pray for her, and ask others to pray as well.

Why don’t we offer ourselves the same grace

Then why, oh why, are we so hard on ourselves? If it were us in this situation instead of a “friend”, you would be criticizing your “lack of ability”, your “weakness.”

You would be ashamed and want no one to know. You would hide your pain and keep plugging on, hoping no one would find out.

My hope is to help women, and men, to treat themselves with the same decency and respect we would those around us. YOU deserve that love and respect. You deserve to be cared for and treated well. You deserve the right to put yourself first sometimes over others.

You. Right now. The reader who is hurting.

YOU deserve grace and compassion. First and foremost from YOURSELF.

And then you owe it to yourself to reach out to someone close to you. Whether it is to just cry on someone’s shoulder or a desperate plea for help, DO IT TODAY.

And if you are struggling so deeply that you are not sure you can go on, that you don’t want to live in this pain,

CALL the NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE NOW 1-800-273-8255