Why This Generation Is So Scared Of Opening Up And Actually Feeling Things
Most of us are terrible at honesty.
I'm not talking about the kind of honesty in which you tell your partner that her new clothing purchase she's excited about doesn't look good on her because of her fair skin. That type of honesty is messed up.
And, “Do I look fat in this?” NO. The answer is ALWAYS no. I'm not a fan of thinly-veiled criticism masquerading as honesty. Keep your negativity to yourself.
I'm talking about the ability to be honest with ourselves and others about how we're feeling. The ability to express ourselves instead of keeping it in and pretending we're too cool in order to protect ourselves from, God forbid, human connection (aka the point of life).
Until recently, I was convinced that being "the one who cares less" is the safest way to guarantee a break from heartache. So if I was in a situation in which I knew I didn't care less than the other, sabotaging it seemed like the best option. I was wrong.
My mom told me that going through life with the goal of always initiating a breakup and never getting hurt was born out of fear, not love. She said, at the end, you're still alone crying -- and that made me realize I wasn't living authentically.
I've been in situations in which I care more; I've been in situations in which I care less.
Both are equally shitty, so to strive to care less makes zero sense.
Few things make me cringe as much as the memory of having intense anxiety (and mumbling for at least two minutes before mustering up the courage) about telling my boyfriend at the time that he was a huge part in making my semester amazing.
His response? “I don't know why that was so hard for you to say.”
Wouldn't I want someone to say that to me? What was my problem?
There is nothing less attractive than an “I don't give a fuck” attitude.
You know what I'm talking about. We all know people who live their lives completely apathetically. This generation is rife with them. They talk a big game about having no feelings, but they exhaust so much energy trying to run from anything real, they miss out on life.
We probably all know many people who live their lives this way. We might even be those people.
At the beginning of EVERY college semester, I say: “This is the semester of no feelings.” My friends remind me I say that every semester and it doesn't work. Honestly, I just texted one of my friends saying, "#NoFeelings20162017."
Humans feel things. We cannot protect ourselves from emotions, and if we get anywhere close to doing so, we are also blocking ourselves from the good ones.
I never want to be in a relationship in which my goal of not getting hurt is so pervasive that I mask my self-expression. And never again will I date someone who does the same.
Everyone's been through something, and everyone's afraid to get hurt.
We might as well put our all into everything we do because regret is much more powerful when it's about the things we were too afraid to do, too afraid to talk about.
We treat others poorly out of the fear of being the one who cares more.
I'm 100 percent certain that my past relationships would have been closer to what I wanted had I mustered the courage to be honest about my feelings.
It makes me genuinely sad to think about how an unstable relationship with someone I was really invested in might have gotten more serious if I had less of a steel wall, and if he had less of that same steel wall.
It also makes me sad to know I probably won't ever be in a healthy relationship until I learn not to be so fucking scared.
Because what's the worst that can happen? Feeling brokenhearted for months? I've already experienced that.
It's one of the universally worst feelings, but refusing to open up didn't protect me from it. SO WHY ARE WE ALL SO SCARED? IT HAPPENS ANYWAYS.
I'd love to say that in my next relationship, I'll spearhead this vulnerability movement, but I know myself way too well to believe that false confidence.
One of my best friends recently told me, during one of our many, many phone calls (in which I cry and she gives me advice), that I probably won't be ready for a relationship in which I feel comfortable enough to be expressive and open for a long time.
This is symptomatic of our generation.
I, like most people I know, am unable to be honest and expressive unless the person I'm involved with also puts forth those efforts. So can't we all try a little?
If someone makes a comment that hurts your feelings and you just can't get over it, talk about it.
If something about your relationship is bothering you, talk to your partner about it instead of sussing it through with every single one of your friends (but do that too).
Most importantly, if you really like someone, or if you begin to feel yourself falling in love, tell that person.
Why would you want someone to be in a relationship with an incomplete version of yourself anyway?