As time passes by and as I study and observe human behavior, including my very own, I have formed a few theories. Some have been verified and are no longer theories and others are still under review. The one that concerns me today is the most important of all, in my humble opinion: connection.
We yearn for connection. Yes, we do. It is embedded in our DNA. I believe connection to be one of our most basic instincts and desires. It has a strong pull and frankly, I don’t believe we can escape it nor do we even want to do so. From the moment we are born, that first moment of being held will dictate our need to be with people. We do want to be loved, to be understood, to be cared for, to be accepted as we are, to matter, to be heard and seen, we just want to be human, for lack of a better word. That is who we are. It might sound simple, but we are social beings, which means we want to have relationships, meaningful not shallow ones. We want to have friends, to fall in love, we socialize by playing games, by sharing a beer or a meal and even these social media platforms are made to connect with other people. Social media do have an agenda of selling us the most shoes and other incredibly unnecessary products but that is not today’s subject.
Why am I talking about connection? Well, if you will indulge me, I would like to share a personal experience and, in the process, I will do my best not to overshare. So, please bear with me.
The story begins about 2 and a half months ago. For reasons I am still trying to figure out, I realized I was stuck. I hit a metaphorical wall and it has affected my life. Nothing bad or life altering happened then or since. I just have a general sense of fatigue. When that happens, questions arise. Could it be the long and unforgiving Canadian winter? Could it be that I am getting older or just old? What is it? I still cannot pinpoint what the underlying cause is but I do know that I have been slacking. It reflects in my writing and the subjects I choose. I still write but production has decreased alarmingly. I haven’t been to the gym regularly in more than 2 months by my count, I haven’t been reading as much as I used to, I have put on a few kilos, etc. I have slowed down. My general sense of fatigue got to my mind and I decided to fight on, without knowing what I am fighting. I felt like I was shadow boxing. I was trying to hit an invisible opponent or opponents. It is quite a disorienting exercise, one that leaves you discombobulated and out of breath.
I kept things inside, bottled up. I tried to keep my thoughts to myself and not tell a soul. As time went on, I felt the weight on my shoulders, on my mind and on my every day life. My own mind can only hold and internalize things so much. Now, please understand, I am a 36-year-old male. I do have a bit of an alpha personality. I want to fix things myself, without any outside help. Things start with me and they fucking end with me. I take care of myself, no one takes care of me. In my mind, I am so awesome that I am here to take care of myself and then help my fellow human beings. It is that kind of mentality that has kept me down for the past 8 weeks. I fell for my own delusion and my brain stopped working and thinking for a minute. There is no honor into the alpha male, quasi superhero attitude. Truth be told, sharing my thoughts and especially weaknesses isn’t my favorite hobby. I did feel weak for not being able to figure out what is bothering my soul and body.
Then I decided to talk. I consciously and voluntarily decided to be vulnerable and admit the various things that have been bugging me. I decided to talk. I took a deep breath and started talking to my lady, the woman who has the patience and fortitude to be with me and who frankly is a carefully wrapped gift, handmade by the Gods and sent to me by the same Gods who seem compelled to bless me against all odds. She mostly listened and asked a few questions every now and then. I emphasize on this: SHE LISTENED. She didn’t fix anything for me because there is nothing for her to fix. I must do the fixing or accept things as they are. She didn’t judge me. She never said I wasn’t worthy. She was there, listening, nodding, thinking, asking questions, pushing me to face situations that I didn’t fully want to face or admit, etc.
Nothing was fixed from that talk. I wasn’t expecting a miracle either. Yet, since that talk, I feel lighter, mentally and physically. I feel better. The things that I was keeping bottled up inside have escaped my body by flying away. They have been stripped of their negative vibe that festered and almost infected the very soul that I have vowed to keep as clean and functional as possible. Once again, nothing has been fixed. There is no magic wand to fix anything. Yet, I took the first step. I talked and talking partially healed my soul. Letting things out helped me. Admitting my vulnerability helped me. I always say I am confident. Well, confident people admit when things aren’t going their way. It took me time but I did it. Talking was the best thing I could have done, and I am glad I did. And if I can do it, anyone can.
That is why connection is so important. It doesn’t have to be a specific connection, such as a love/relationship connection in my case. It could be a friend, a brother/sister, a parent, a co-worker or even a stranger. Yes, a stranger. The idea is to talk to someone, anyone. The idea is to alleviate one’s soul. The idea is to evacuate the stress. The idea is to take care of one’s mind, body and soul. Talking does all that. Letting things out does all that. I am speaking for myself and I am quite sure it would help others.
Keeping things in is the best way of ensuring things will explode and that is always synonymous with disaster. Letting things out is never a bad idea. I can hear skeptics saying “I don’t want people knowing my business” and I get it. Is your business more important than you overall health? Is your business so important that you cannot confide in someone? We all have someone we trust. We all have that one person that wants the best for us. We can talk to them. We can let things out and we should. If we don’t, it always ends up in disaster.
Letting things out isn’t a weakness. It is a strength. It is the ultimate show of confidence. It means you put your mental and physical health above all. If you don’t do it for yourself, who will? Yet, remember; opening yourself up to people and being vulnerable will take time. Talking and letting things out are like muscles; the more exercise you give them, the stronger they get, and it becomes second nature. Talking is good for the soul. Letting things out will take time. Do not worry. Contrary to what you might have heard, you do have time. Let it out, whatever it is. You will feel better.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day.