I was talking to a dear friend of mine and we were discussing life, improvement tips, and other important matters 30-year-olds discuss. For the young people out there, you’ll understand the importance of these discussions soon enough!

So, as we were exchanging ideas, my dear friend, whom I love dearly, asked me how I deal with life, stress and how I maintain my balance. I am not the perfect picture of health and I don’t know everything since I am an imperfect being constantly looking for ways to get better. Yet her question was quite valid, and it especially caught me off guard. After a few seconds of deep thinking, I found an answer to this excellent question!

I live by a few rules. Each is special in its own way, but this immensely specific rule is crucial to maintaining my balance and not succumbing to stress and insanity. The rule is: I SAY HOW I FEEL. What does this mean? Well, allow me to explain because it is a rule that has its virtues and its disadvantages.

There is an unwritten rule, applied by a good portion of the population, asking us to keep calm and not talk about things that bother us or even the things that please us. I get it. This reluctance to talk about a situation, whether good or bad, is cultural mostly I believe. Probably staying silent shows good etiquette. I would say, in my case, that my Burundian side requires me to be silent and never complain. My Greek side requires me to speak freely. Finally, my Freeman personality, a mix of both cultures with a sauce of everything that has happened to me in my life and my own way of seeing the world, compels me to speak. Whenever I see something good happening, I mention it. A little “good job bro/sis!” goes a long way, I have found. It reinforces good behavior and puts a smile on the person’s face.

Now, for the bad and unpleasant situations…Once again, we are required to not complain or say anything. I tried that “noble” approach, but it never bore any fruits. I understand staying polite and not complaining all the time. In the long run, one might alienate everyone, and I get it! Nevertheless, here is the thing: if someone is being mean, I tell them. If someone is being rude, arrogant, insulting, disrespectful, bullyish, condescending, I tell them. If a situation is messed up and creates a bad or dangerous mood, whether through pure chance or through someone’s actions, I voice it. If something frustrates me, annoys me, or doesn’t sit well with me, I say it. We all have seen situations and/or people that start off as small annoyances and end up being an unbearable catastrophe. Then, we wonder, what could have happened if one of us had had the courage to say something. Perhaps saying something would have stopped the situation in its infancy.

I do not accumulate feelings, especially negative ones. Hell no! I never go to sleep with a heavy heart. Well, at least, I try hard not to. I do not allow situations or people to frustrate me indefinitely. Do I get frustrated? Of course! I have pet peeves and things that bug the fuck out of me! I am human! Yes, sometimes, things can happen, and I lose my cool, meaning I get more upset than I should. I never take it out on people, but I will voice my frustration and anger. When something happens, I do not wait an hour, let alone a day, before expressing my disgust, anger, annoyance, or frustration. Why keep bad things bottled in, I ask you? Why keep things in? So they can fester, raise my blood pressure and see myself suffering a heart attack in a few years? Hell no! Moreover, I believe if I say something, someone might do something to fix the situation or to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Silence doesn’t help!

By doing that, I know I can seem unpleasant or too full of myself. I totally get that. Yet, I’d rather be perceived as such than the alternative. It is crucial to voice how I feel in terms that don’t insult or demean others. That is where misinterpretation and misunderstandings happen. I always apologize when I go too far, which happens rarely, thank the Gods. I know a few people who always accept bad situations with a smile, but you can tell they are annoyed to the core. I have one friend who I believe will explode one day. I seriously would never want to be there when that happens.

Evacuating frustration is one of the many reasons (probably the main reason) why I curse so much and often. You may not agree with me but a “what the fuck!”, “are you fucking serious?”, “fuck that!”, “no, I don’t agree”, “that’s fucked up!”, “shut the fuck up!”, “fuck you” and “go fuck yourself”, can come in handy, lower the blood pressure, then we proceed to shake the frustration off and move on. Done! It is selfish I know but it works pretty well.

I know this way of being isn’t accepted in any civilized society. My own father, the quintessential gentleman cannot stand when I curse in any language, yet I always curse at least 3-4 times a day and it sometimes happen when I am next to him. He always says “hey, come on! What is wrong with you? Why are you talking like that?”. And my answer is always “Sorry, dad!”.

Say how you feel. There is nothing wrong with that. Stay polite and do not take it out on others, that is rule number one. But voice your frustration. Say it. Evacuate the negative feelings. They don’t help you in any way. They are counterproductive and once they accumulate in your heart, they will end up hurting you, that is a certainty. Say how you feel. We are human beings, and we have feelings. Let’s voice them, in a healthy way to stay healthy ourselves and so we can have healthy relationships with others.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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