You are one of 7.4 billion, and so am I. We make up a pretty small part of the world’s population of 7,400,000,000. It’s a big number.
The law of averages makes it likely that there will be somebody else out there whose outward appearance is much like yours, to the extent that if you were both lined up in an identity parade, an eye witness could have trouble telling you apart.
Even more likely is that many others share your temperament. They’ll think like you, worry about the same kinds of things you do, and probably have similar hopes and fears.
Just as there are bound to be others like you, so too will there be others like me. But even though this logic is reasonably undeniable, it doesn’t stop us both (I suspect) feeling from time to time that we’re struggling through life in a way that’s shared by no-one else.
When you’re low, how can anyone else feel the same way? How can someone else’s state of mind possibly be like yours?
And of course when you and I think like this, it can feel lonely and a bit hopeless. But this tends to come about when we compare our own inner feelings with the outward appearance of others, and appearances can be deceptive.
If you’re anxious, you may believe those around you aren’t. If you’re unhappy, you may think you’re the only one. I’m sure none of us enjoy that lonely feeling of believing that nobody else is going through what we are, because it can end up making us uncomfortable with who we are.
But right now someone else is feeling just like you do. I’m sure that knowing you’re not alone won’t in itself solve your problems, but perhaps it can help to stop you agonising that they’re unlike those of anyone else. They may well have conquered them, and if they did, so can you.