One of the hardest things to feel is isolated in a crowd; to feel like you're suffering alone.
One of the best ways to suffer alone is to keep it to yourself-that thing that makes you feel inadequate, that takes away your agency/power/confidence/esteem.
Learning how to ask for help is a powerful tool. Learning how to give help equally so. I am fortunate to have had amazing mentors who have been kind with support after periods of lonely suffering. Every time I talk to them, I feel guilty for not being able to reach out sooner. But, perhaps that wait is what makes my appreciation for their help so much more full.
Today, I was given the opportunity to be like them; to give words of encouragement and wisdom. Channeling them and challenging myself to emulate the best things in them, helped feel more confident in my own struggles. As I affirmed my classmate, I was getting affirmation because she had come to me, had trusted me, had chosen me to help with her load. There is a honor wrapped in the trusting reach of vulnerability. Moreover, there is a camaraderie in knowing you're not the only one climbing the mountains of doubt that come from trying to push past zones of comfort.
In asking for help, my classmate helped me. It can feel like such a risk trusting someone with our fears and anxieties, because so often we've been punished from trusting the wrong person. But the sharing is necessary.
I'm grateful that she would choose me. I hope that she feels the same benefit and more for confiding in me. I don't presume to have all the answers. But it does feels nice to be asked. :)