About a year ago, I was introduced to a TED talk given by Ash Beckham. While Beckham and I have almost comically different political leanings, her talk about finding the courage to have hard conversations really resonated with me. She reminded me that everyone has something that they are hiding, some secret pain.
…here’s the thing: Hard is not relative. Hard is hard. Who can tell me that explaining to someone you’ve just declared bankruptcy is harder than telling someone you just cheated on them? Who can tell me that his coming out story is harder than telling your five-year-old you’re getting a divorce? There is no harder, there is just hard. We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else’s hard to make us feel better or worse about our closets and just commiserate on the fact that we all have hard. – Ash Beckham
A beautiful, amazing, sweet, kind woman I’ve known since I was a child has entered hospice care. She has been battling brain cancer for a couple years and she isn’t winning. She has three daughters, three sons-in-law, and four beautiful grandchildren who will have to grow up without her. Who can tell me that watching your mom slip away over two years is harder or less hard than losing your dad suddenly, without warning? Is is easier to know, to prepare, or to live in blissful ignorance until it’s too late?
Is a break up less difficult than a death? Sticking to your diet easier than curbing your tongue? Battling addiction worse than recovering from surgery?
The point I’m trying to make, dear ones, is that life is full of mountains. The climb is difficult. The decent is slippery and dangerous. The valleys are dark and lonely. It’s more than enough to storm the blockade, let alone feel guilty for crying out because your trial doesn’t measure up.
Whether you are trying to lose 100 lbs to save your life, picking up the pieces after you’ve lost “the one”, or facing the disappointment of a failed business venture, you are under no obligation to justify your struggle.
Hard is hard.