I Need Connection

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It’s so much easier to write the resolution than the journey. But sometimes, in the moment of clarity you can see in retrospect what you needed. We continue forward, with the idea that we know what we’re doing, but often we don’t know what we were looking for until we find it.

This past week was difficult. With multiple final papers due, my schedule is wiped clean so I can sit down and write, research, repeat. I have a mixed relationship with writing essays. On one hand, there are great things to be learned in forming an idea using other people’s ideas. But mostly, this week I have denied myself most of what makes me feel whole in order to meet deadlines. And sometimes, that’s life.

This week, and many others, I forget how incredibly important it is to simply connect with another human. To be able to express the confusion and sorrow that we are feeling, and to hear that someone else feels it too. To my dear friend Anna, thank you for reminding me of what I had forgotten.

I hate loneliness. I hate it because it fills so much of our lives. It’s the reason I’ll have music playing wherever I go. It’s the reason there is always a tv on, a phone in hand, or a computer screen open. We live in a way that praises self-accomplishment, and individuality. We pride ourselves on our uniqueness, but at the same time we are terrified of being different enough that people won’t want us around. I try to find the balance everyday of satisfying the parts of me that want to be expressed fully, while trying to be normal enough so as not to stick out too much. And it’s not because I don’t know who I am. It’s because sometimes I’m not always sure who to be in the world.

But I live within this paradigm as if I understand its purpose. To achieve, to succeed, to compete, to be the best.
Because nothing, absolutely nothing is more satisfying to me than sitting across from someone who says “Yeah. I understand. I’ve been there” Nothing beats revealing the parts of you that are scared, insecure, overwhelmed and exhausted and for someone to recognize that within themselves. To be with someone in the depths of life, not just the surface. I’m so tired of walking around acting like i’ve got my shit together, like I’m on a train of amazingness and there’s no stopping me!
Or, on the other hand, connecting with others only by means of complaining. Of how life isn’t giving me what I wanted, and how I’m annoyed, angry or indifferent. When I am unable to express my real feelings and experiences with others, they get bottled up in my head and I begin not to trust myself. With no affirmation, no outward processing, no connection, I become the enemy of my own mind. I think that I must be doing something to feel this way, or else I blame the only good things in my life that I could place blame (aka my partner). I’m left up to my own devices, and let me tell you they are limited. Because I am just one experience. I am just one perspective. And I can’t fix everything myself.

I want to re-label “anxiety” with “need connection”. Because then I wouldn’t be able to cut myself short by saying “I’m going to stay in because I’m feeling anxious”. What’s really happening is I desperately need connection, but maybe i’m scared to be vulnerable. Maybe I’m convinced that I’ll figure it out on my own.

No. That’s not it Em, stop trying to be your own therapist.

I NEED CONNECTION. I need to joke about the ridiculousness of trying to write about the history of a marginalized group, as if “they” have one, a complete and documented story that can be told within 500 words. I need to talk about how I can’t stand walking into a classroom to sit beside one another to learn about how to show “empathy” when we could be connecting with one another and actually experiencing it. I need to talk about how I’ve been so emotionally overwhelmed that I try to control it by telling my partner he’s being selfish. I need to talk about how I want community, how I want to know people. I need to talk about how I don’t know how to navigate a world of “how are you” “fine” because all I want to say is “I am so freaking overwhelmed right now.”

I need connection. I need people. I need someone to say “Hey, it makes sense that you’re feeling that way, sounds like you have a lot on your plate”. Because yeah, I have a LOT going for me, and life COULD be worse, BUT THAT’S NOT A REASON TO DENY YOUR FEELINGS.

Because I am feeling. I am always, feeling. And I’m tired of just thinking about it. Labeling it “in my head” or “my mind is racing” and trying to push it away. Maybe our erratic minds and constant need to be doing something is because we are terrified to face the fact that we are lonely, and everybody else is busy.

I know people make a lot of empty promises these days. We make plans and cancel, we put that we “might” go to things on Facebook, and we settle for harmless, easy, conversation. But if you feel like talking about what’s really happening in you life, or what you’re feeling, or what you just realized, or what you’re really excited about, and you don’t know who to tell, I would really love to hear it. My email is emily.scott93@gmail.com, and since I am a university student, my computer is open almost all hours of the day. Feel free to email me the real “how are you” and I’d love to chat.

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like talking to me because a. you don’t know me b. you don’t want to email your feelings to someone on the internet… then please, if you need connection like I do, find the people in your life that care about you and let them know you need them. I don’t think we are good at needing people these days, but I’ll be the first to say that I do. And every area of my life starts crumbling down when I forget that.

It’s time I tell you why I love you

Sometimes I wonder what it would take to bring us out of whatever darkness we are struggling against. I strive to know what the key message is that someone might hear to liberate them from their pain, or the experience that might shed light on whatever it is they are afraid of.

It changes I’m sure, and every day I am learning new ways to both give and receive that love that will hopefully mean something to someone. The compassion that will stretch beyond a moment of selflessness, and the empathy that surpasses a moment of putting yourself in another’s shoes.

What is it that truly changes us?

What is it that gives us a lasting sense of freedom and peace?

There are many answers to this question, in fact I think we are all searching for something to satisfy our hunger for love and acceptance. And while there may be infinite ways for this to be expressed, here is one that made a difference for me, maybe it can for you too. As I write about my life, I hope I am articulating it with as much honesty and transparency as I can.

My beautiful friend Greer wrote something for me, and it made me cry. Full on sobs are pretty foreign to me these days, but there was definitely a tear or two, that emerged from the sheer beauty of her words and how much I trusted in what she was saying.

“I am not sure Emily knows how beautiful she is.
It’s a beauty that goes beyond her way with words”

She was specific, naming things about me that have impacted her. She spoke of things that she could see in me that I cannot seem to see in myself.

“It’s a beauty that is intangible.”

“You can’t see it, but you can feel it”

These words touched my soul, as I read on I felt like I was actually believing it, without it being an inflation of pride, it was a sense of worth. It was a sense that I was enough as I am, and that I am loved for the things that are unique to me.

“It’s this beauty, Em, which draws me to you.”

To think I could have something that would be of true value to someone, not a temporary skill or possession, but real life merit for being a human, was beyond what I would instinctually believe. I write often about loving yourself as part of your own personal journey, but this was something I could never have told myself.

This is what I learned from her wonderful, kind words:

1. Tell people you love them. and MEAN IT.

2. Don’t just tell them, show them however you know best. Show them with your time, by listening, by putting them first. Show them by being there, and by celebrating with them.

3. Most importantly, don’t just say you love them, but tell them WHY.

We all want to know that we have value.

We all want to know that we matter.

We all want to know that we are different and that we are important for who we are.

Sometimes this need gets cluttered in our tendency to seek approval in ways that are fleeting. I can get caught in the cycle of temporary pride with a “like” on Facebook, or a compliment on my clothing style. While those things are important, and a little encouragement can go a long way, we NEED to be aware of how specifically we love people. Those close to us need to know we love them BECAUSE. We need to be telling each other what it is that means so much to us. Why we value the friendship, why they impact us, why they are unique. This isn’t something superficial, it’s putting yourself in a vulnerable position and stating your need for the other person. Letting them know they have value, regardless of the circumstance. Not just delivering compliments upon success or performance, but sharing real encouragement wherever and whenever necessary.

People need to know that they are valued beyond their skills. We all need to believe that we have a purpose for being here.

I cannot ask you to do something I’m not willing to do myself, nor do I want to.

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So Greer,

You are someone who fills a room. Wherever you are you carry joy, and you have this unbelievable ability to love everyone you meet. You are powerful, in your words and in your thoughts. The things that you think are transcendent, and I find myself at a loss for words sometimes as I listen to you envision life as you see it.
You love vulnerability while most people fear it. I think that is one of the most important things that needs to change in this world, and you’re already working at it so honestly.
You are yourself. You say what is on your mind because there is no point in living a life in isolation. You don’t just live in community you CREATE it. That’s pretty incredible.
When I see you I think “freedom”, because you embody what it means to be wonderfully imperfect and own the crap out of it.

I love you. You are beautiful.

Here’s to being loved, and always knowing why.

There really is more than meets the eye

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You may know of a story personally, or at least heard of one, where someone you never would have expected, admits to a serious mental illness, eating disorder, insecurity, you name it. Something you could not see from the outside, so you assumed it was not there. Many people have felt that gut feeling of shock in their stomach thinking to themselves in that moment “I never would have expected it”. 

I have come to realize that this happens because too often it is the people who have become the best at putting on a happy face that are struggling the most. Not to say we need to discount the joyful people, or the ones who can lead a crowd in laughter.
But it is so important to always be aware of the whole person. To not discount what they may feel. To not assume that they might not need to hear words of encouragement. To not put all the responsibility in their hands just because they seem invincible.
Reality is,
we just… do not know.

We do not know what people are thinking, and though that may probably benefit our sanity, we cannot draw conclusions or concrete assumptions about people based on their behaviour.

Everyone needs love. Everyone needs encouragement. Everyone needs compassion.

If you find yourself in shock of discovering something about someone that contradicts your previous notions of them, then maybe it just means you did not know them as well as you thought you did, or else maybe you didn’t present yourself as someone they could talk to.
Some people have the courage to be open and honest about their struggle, but a ton of people do not. Maybe this is because there are so many social forces telling us to keep it all quiet.
It does not matter how confident, sarcastic, outgoing, happy, or fun someone seems, know that their journey is just as important and real as anyone else’s. That joy absolutely may be real, but it is not up to us to summarize someone’s life based on what we can see.

For those who I have misjudged based on my shallow assumptions, I am sorry.

Those that I did not offer anything but superficial small talk, if you needed more, I am sorry.

For those I assumed had it all together, but were so burdened on the inside, I am sorry.

For those who have created a bulletproof social act in order to keep safe what is really happening, you matter. your struggle matters, and there are people who accept you no matter who you are. If you need to be real with someone, know that you are loved beyond your visible character. And even though it seems like people see you only from the outside, sometimes letting them in can create the most meaningful relationships.
I know that it feels like you cannot go deeper than the happy and content person that people have come to know, but if you need to, then DO IT.
Unfortunately, we will never really know how people see us, therefore it is pointless to try and live up to an expectation that you think you need to uphold. You will never know if you are doing it right. Instead you will discard the parts of you that are real, the ones that create honest and meaningful connection.
Know that I get it, I am there with you, day by day, unconsciously shaping my outward performance, and I am not asking anyone to live from the inside out.
Just know that there are people who want to know the real you, because that is what sets you apart. That is what matters.

You are amazing! Thank you for reading 🙂 

A new video to be posted soon, stay tuned!

 Blog Photo Attribution: Chris Samuel

I Thought You Didn’t Like Me! 10 Things We Want to Say But Don’t

ImageDon’t we all love that magical moment when you and a friend finally have that conversation where you both realize you were intimidated by each other but didn’t want to say it? That maybe you had doubts about how that person felt about you, so you were wary of being your complete self around them. Perhaps they came across to you as very confident, so you weren’t willing to share your insecurities. Maybe you overanalyzed parts of the relationship, thinking that certain things they did must mean that they don’t care about your friendship as much as you do, even if you were in your own head making those assumptions.
There have been so many times I have had those conversations and while they are fun and exciting and “eye-opening”, they always make me feel like I need to make up for lost time.
Like I need to make up for that time they thought I didn’t like them, or the times I thought they couldn’t possibly like me.
It makes me sad that we can build friendships that are built on so much doubt, that it can take months before you discover that you were both in the same space of doubt, but no one wanted to be the first to say it.
In the poll I have going at the bottom of this blog, you guys answered saying that it’s hardest to believe that ‘my friends genuinely love me for who I am’. I agree with that. It is hard.

Why is it so hard?

What if we broke out of our own shell of insecurities and doubts and were the first to express our love to our friends?

What if we just said what we thought about them?

It’s strange that this can be such a common thing, and it happens between friends, not just strangers. We can care enough to spend time with each other, to get to know each other, but still have our guard up, because what if they don’t actually like me? I don’t want to have to be the first to say something, what if I look stupid?

If I could have it my way, I would hope that no one ever thought I was too busy for them, or that I didn’t like them, because chances are, unless there is some huge pressing issue or reason I wouldn’t, I probably think you’re great. And I probably want to tell you that, but within myself is this desire to be in control, and being courageous enough to speak your mind can feel the opposite.

I wish we could say these things to each other, and give each other confidence. I wish we could validate our own friendships and tell each other the good things we see in them, I wish we would never have to have that conversation “oh, I thought you didn’t like me!”

So if I know you, or if I don’t, here is what I want to say but don’t. Here is what I think you need to say, because there’s probably someone who needs to hear it.

Hey [Insert name here],

  1. I think you’re awesome. I really do.
  2. I don’t always tell you because it seems like you already know it yourself.
  3. Sometimes i’m intimidated by your confidence
  4. Sometimes I wonder if you really like me, and I get in my head thinking maybe you don’t.
  5. I love spending time with you, I think you are an incredible person who brings so much to our friendship.
  6. Even if I appear busy, i’m probably making it look that way, when in reality I would jump at the chance to hang out with you.
  7. I don’t want to be the person who’s ‘more’ invested in the relationship, so sometimes I won’t initiate anything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends, it just means I’m scared to need it more than you.
  8. I want to share in our doubts together, I want to work through our struggles together
  9. I love you for who you are. You don’t need to be anything.
  10. I’m insecure. Just so you know. In case that’s not obvious.

Please, call out the good in your friends. If you’re scared, that’s okay. But I can guarantee you that they aren’t as confident as you think they are, and you affirming them will probably make them feel good. Give them another reason to be confident.

Be loved challenge:
If any of the above 10 things resonated with you, I challenge you to SAY it to someone, even if it takes a bit of courage. And then comment below or send an email to info@be-loved.net to share what happened!!

As always, you can follow this blog to get new posts each week, and send an email if you’d like me to write about anything at all.

BE loved today.

Original Photo Attribution: tracerbullet999