One evening I was sitting alone, staring at my journal, feeling stuck on what to write. Have you ever had so many thoughts that you felt overwhelmed about where to begin? How does one even begin to unload the weight of the past few weeks? I stopped what I was doing and opted to listen to a John Mayer playlist while I leaned back with my eyes closed, slowly drifting into a wistful daydream. The lyrics in one of the songs on the playlist really struck a chord with me. The song is called ‘I guess I just feel like” and he starts it off with the lyrics “I guess I just feel like. Nobody’s honest. Nobody’s true. Everyone’s lying. To make it on through. I guess I just feel like, I’m the same way, too”. These words really resonated with me and inspired me to write this post, reflecting on a few things that I just feel like.
Disclaimer – These are just things I realized about myself during this period of uncertainty but honestly, most of us experience similar feelings so if you’re able to resonate with my words, that’s comforting to know.
You can’t confine your experiences and emotions to the pages of a book forever – To give you some context, from the age of 14 to the present day, I have documented on the pages of my journals basically my life story; all the ups and downs, flaws, insecurities, hopes and desires that make me into who I am. The very thing that led me to start a journal was the fact that I always found it difficult to confide in people and so I needed some sort of an outlet to express my thoughts and emotions. So one day, I bought a pretty journal, unleashed all my thoughts onto the pages, and haven’t stopped since. Over time, writing has become very therapeutic for me, almost like a coping mechanism. The pen is the tongue of my mind; When I put pen to paper, my thoughts flow and fill the pages.
I should preface by saying that writing in a journal has helped me immensely from learning to process my emotions better, deal with problems rationally, and observing the patterns in my thoughts and behavior. Overall, it has molded me into a very introspective person. I can attest that journaling has been wonderful for helping me maintain good mental health & wellbeing. However, like with most good things, there are always some negatives that come along with it. Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that the older I get and the more complicated my thoughts become, journaling alone simply isn’t enough. As much as I understand the importance of talking to someone and not feeling isolated with your thoughts, I also know that finding people you feel safe and comfortable to share your worries with can be very challenging. Perhaps one of the reasons I started this blog is also to learn to be vocal about my thoughts and feelings and connect with people.
Lately, I’ve been questioning whether or not processing my emotions alone is a natural preference or learned behavior that I adopted at an early age to avoid looking vulnerable in front of others. The go-to phrases that I use to get through practically anything in life have become “I can handle this” and “I know what I’m doing”, even in moments when I genuinely don’t know what I’m doing. Although these phrases sound positive and being self-sufficient is a good trait to have, dealing with things all alone isn’t always the healthiest option. For instance, the effect this has had on me is that now as an adult, I hardly ask for help or advice, preferring to do things by all by myself. I usually have major reservations about sharing my struggles with anyone in great detail, be it, close friends or family, for really no particular reason other than this is how I’ve always been. I just feel like it’s about time I unlearn some habits because vulnerability isn’t a weakness and I recognize that sharing your worries with others can in fact strengthen your relationships. As a Psychology enthusiast, it’s really interesting for me to see just how much my early life experiences have influenced my communication and attachment styles as an adult. I suppose just as we have different life experiences, how we choose to express those feelings and experiences differs for everyone.
In solitude, I find myself – I would consider myself to be a very introverted person, with the exception of professional settings where through effort, I display more extroverted characteristics. There are a few misconceptions associated with introversion; for instance, I don’t lack social skills or confidence but I’m selectively social. Only those I feel very comfortable around have seen a more relaxed, bubblier side of me. To others, at first few glances, I can come across as quiet or shy, very reserved, assertive, and even strict in enforcing the boundaries I set. However, although these are all different sides of my personality, my natural inclination has always been to find comfort in my own company, my own space, away from social pressures. The majority of the time, you will not catch me at social gatherings (especially large ones) because this is where my introversion is at its peak and I become a wallflower. In these types of social settings, I often find myself fading into the background, tuning out of conversations, and generally just feeling misplaced. My personality definitely shines through in small intimate gatherings where my social batteries don’t feel drained and I’m surrounded by people I can have deeper conversations with.
Real human connection is something we all crave regardless of our personality type or socializing preferences. It’s something so natural to desire and pivotal to human existence. Whether it’s through platonic friendships or romantic relationships, we all yearn to feel understood and to find a sense of belonging, true companionship with people. Although I have no wish of anyone ever knowing me in as much detail as displayed in my journals, I do wish to develop more meaningful relationships with the people in my life. I’ll be the first to admit that maintaining friendships is definitely not my forte as many of them have often dissolved naturally with time. However, all kinds of human relationships take effort to maintain and as much as some of us might delude ourselves into thinking that we are content with our own company in solitude, there’s always a limit to it. There will come a time when your heart, mind, and soul will be restless to form real connections with others.
Negative experiences are essential for personal development – Every single person that we meet and interact with is going through something that is unbeknownst to others, regardless of their age. This can range from daily stressors at work, feeling numb and disconnected in social settings, having self-loathing thoughts, familial issues, relationship breakdowns, existential crisis, health complications, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, most of us move through the motions of life, masking our emotions, hiding our invisible wounds in hopes that people don’t recognize the negative sides of our lives. Everyone is hurting in silence, assuming that no one else will understand them when pain and suffering (physically, psychologically, spiritually) is an inevitable part of the human condition that we can all empathize with. It’s the very thing that enhances our level of resilience, maturity and sometimes builds character.
Most of us need to let go of this unwavering thought that we need to be finished products bearing no flaws before others can learn to love us. We are all flawed in one way or another, but what makes human connections so special is our ability to love and embrace one another regardless of our little quirks and flaws. I also want to mention that it isn’t fair to compare our struggles either, different things affect people differently. I just feel like, we’re not always as disconnected and isolated as we might feel and if we shared more with each other, we would be able to see this with more clarity.
If you have read this far, thank you. Let me know your thoughts down below.
What is something you just feel like getting out of your chest?