I have been hearing a lot from my close circle of friends lately, that many people are struggling. As this is the age of social media, I don't see it on my Facebook page, and I started wondering if I was the "only one" having these feelings of sadness and depression. I realized that most of us don't reach out to others when we are feeling sad. We have been programmed to only attempt communication when we are happy, or else others "won't like us." I have definitely been called "dramatic," and told to "chill" when I am upset. These are just forms of invalidation, and we must be very careful that we are not using them to avoid our own feelings. When others are in pain, we must also look at our own pain, and this is hard. It is easier to tell them "relax," and laugh it off, than to listen, and therefore have to reflect on our own pain and unanswered questions. Depression is "catching" in that way, however, I like to look at it as opportunities for me to see something about myself that otherwise I might not want to look at.
I am always saddened when my feelings end relationships. In times of conflict, relationships either fall away, or are strengthened by adversity. However, some people are simply in too much of their own pain to recognize how to separate theirs from yours. When I find myself saying, "That person hurt me," I can then look at what part of me resonates with that. In order for their words or actions to hurt me, I must have given them an opening. When I say that, it is almost always unconscious. When I wrote of the "walking wounded" a while back, this is what I meant. We all have emotional injuries which are constantly effecting our decisions. This, in turn, sends us in a direction which steers us away from the areas which are painful. And unfortunately, that often results in having shallow, unfulfilling relationships. When you are on the right path, there are always going to be bumps in the road. But when you have your internal vision set on your ultimate goal, you will not be deterred for any reason.
When someone tells me, "You don't have any problems," I am always surprised. Others see us so differently because they do not know our innermost feelings. I'm not sure if this is helpful, or harmful. I'm not going to start wearing a shirt that lists all my insecurities and problems, but I am also not really willing to continue with the false bravado and automatic replies which belie my true self. If you ask me how I am, I may not say "fine." I don't expect to have a 3 hour conversation about it, but I think it's time for us to stop denying our true feelings, just to make others more comfortable. In fact, I think it is starting to have the opposite effect, if what I am hearing is accurate. The flip side is that I do not need to have a strong reaction if someone tells me they are not fine. I can always spare time for a quick hug and a few words of encouragement. If we are not uncomfortable with our own feelings, maybe we can work towards being open to all the feelings of others. We spend more time worrying about hurting each other's feelings than honoring our own, and this is a losing game for all involved.
If you see me out and about, and I look sad, do what works for you. But please don't ask me how I am if you do not REALLY want to know. I'm ok with it either way!!!! Wishing you all peace and contentment on this beautiful Sunday.