The following is a note I wrote to myself at the tail end of a very difficult year and 5 months of severe physical pain had just subsided. I had completely forgotten about writing this and when I rediscovered it, I felt an urge to share.
April 6, 2016 -In my efforts to turn my life around, I’ve become an open book of sorts. I am more vulnerable now than I’ve ever been before. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve to commiserate but to let others in and let them know that I am broken, and it’s OK for them to be broken too. Needing to wear a mask for the majority of social interactions leads to the repression of nagging thoughts and emotions that are a part of who we are at any given time.
Showing vulnerability, not to be confused with weakness or a lack of self confidence, allows those close to you, or even just those near you in proximity, to open up as well. This fosters trust and builds closer relationships in the long run, but in the short term it lets people know they’re not alone. Feelings of loneliness can be devastating, and for me, those feelings are even worse when they occur whilst surrounded by people. Sharing your truth gives other’s a friend in a time of desperate need, whether or not they realize it at the time is not important.
Looking back, there were many times that I didn’t know how much a simple conversation with a friend impacted my life. Oftentimes, this occurs when you don’t necessarily feel that bad or are having a run of good luck and feeling great. We all have insecurities, worries and dreams that we keep to ourselves most of the time. Letting just a little out every now and again will not only benefit you but the other party as well. We try so hard to make it seem like we have it all together, but you know what? We don’t, hardly anyone actually does.
Humans have been on earth for millions of years, we spent a century working for corporations to earn a pension, before that we were mostly business owners, now we’re in the technological era and it’s even harder to have it all together with so many options and responsibilities imposed on us. We haven’t evolved to deal with the society we live in today. It’s not wrong to be a mess, to be lost and unsure. It’s normal. Einstein was quoted saying “everyone is a genius, but if you judge a frog by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid” ( something along those lines ) Why can’t they climb trees? They haven’t evolved to climb trees.
We live in a world dominated by Apple and Google, in a society sewn together with Ethernet cords and stitched up with magic called wifi. None of this existed until the last half century. Apple was founded just over 40 years ago; Google just 18 years ago. All those crazy videos and Internet celebrities? YouTube began in 2005, that is, the first video was in 2005 and it grew from there. As humans, we have the ability to think in so many different ways. We are able to learn from others mistakes, we can imagine unimaginable stories and send them to others using 1’s and 0’s via things in space! But we’ve been on this earth for thousands of centuries. The time that which we have been exposed to these new technologies and new ways that our world operates is just one tiny fraction of one percent of our existence on this planet. If you truly believe we’ve been here for 6,000 years, then my heart goes out to you. For everyone else, stop and think about this for a second…
…ok what do you see? You should see that you’re beating yourself up over not being able to “master” life, or adulting, or high-schooling, or ranking first in Google, or anything else that you feel you should be able to learn and do perfectly by yesterday. Yes, everything we do uses the same brain we’ve been using for millennia, in fact the brain hasn’t changed much over tens of thousands of years, however, our societies have changed quite a bit.
The world we live in today is light years ahead of the world I went to high school in. MySpace was big, YouTube was just barely starting; essentially, everything that consumes such a large part of our lives today wasn’t even around just 10 years ago. “Success” in most areas of life weighs heavily on these new technologies and platforms along with the overall way of the world we live in. If you’re struggling to adapt, i.e. not as quick to gain traction in any given endeavor as those nearest you, just remember that most of those around you seem a lot better than they actually are.
I don’t say this to mean that everyone is secretly unhappy, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. What I’m saying is that not as many people have a solid core of “I got it figure out” but rather a shiny looking shell covering the mess of wires and gears underneath, littered with caution tape signifying; ‘site under construction’. Peeling back the metaphorical layers of the onion reveal these ‘flaws’ and show others that you’re human.
For a while, my family thought I was the perfect guy. I only saw them a couple times a year since moving 2,500 or so miles away and after long separations, the last thing I wanted to do was sulk/complain/cry/bitch and moan or however else you want to phrase it. But you know what…that was how I framed it in my mind to avoid being uncomfortable and showing vulnerability. The truth was, had I let my friends and family in sooner, I would have realized the missteps as they were being made rather than after they had snowballed into a full blown crisis.
I sincerely thank you for reading, you are my new favorite 🙂