Stevie Smith wrote, “I was much further out than you thought and not waving but drowning”. When I read Not Waving but Drowning which was published in 1957 it feels as if it could have been written yesterday. All too often we read or hear about the next young man who was much further out than we thought or for whom it was to cold. At the time we hear neighbours say things like, “He was very quiet and we didn’t expect this” or “she was a wonderful mum, didn’t say much but she was always polite.” I sometimes ask myself how we can mistake drowning for waving but we do, all the time. I’m not entirely sure when we stopped looking, what caused it or more importantly what gave us the ability to turn our backs and only ever see the wave. The thing we have to remember is that when we begin to see others waving we also allow them to see us. Hiding our own susceptibilities, secreting our own demons and insecurities disallows us from seeing those around us and while it does this it robs us of the opportunity to do anything about them. On a societal level we behave as if we are invulnerable and as if we are untouched by the struggle of our journeys. Clinging to this pretence against all odds as many of us do prevents our progress and growth however taking ownership of them can initially be terrifying. When we do own our vulnerabilities though and start to become proud of the chinks in our armour which allows our humanity to sneak out, we become better, stronger people. It’s the scars we carry which make us the people we are as much as if not more than the triumphs we have had. Taking ownership of our struggles, our negative thoughts and voices allows us to turn to them and say, “I have fought with you a thousand times and a thousand times I have won, now come and have a go if you think your hard enough.” Although we may not think we won, we did. We would not be here today if we hadn’t won the battle, now we’re winning the war even if we don’t know it. If we take ownership of that moment we are then allowed to see the struggle in those around us. We are empowered to ask, “Are you OK? I guess people think your waving but I’ve been where you are. Do you need a hand?”