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.

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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

TBH: 5 Reasons We Don’t Ask For Help

2012468692_4ddcbc9a53_zIt’s true. I said tbh…

Because to be honest, I don’t think we are. Today will be slightly an extension of last week’s post because I think this idea is crucial. Last week I talked about why we need to stop trying to be ‘okay’ all the time, today I want to talk about why we do that, why we don’t ask for help. As much as this might be cliché, I think it starts with a little bit of TBH.

So I’ll start.

I spent most of last year never asking for help. I thought that not asking for help was a sign of strength and willpower. I thought that I was the person other people came to for help, but I didn’t need to ask for it. I thought that being happy meant figuring out how to do life right. I liked the idea of approaching people once I had everything figured out, as if that would make it easier to be in community. I thought they wouldn’t want to hear it, or else they wouldn’t get it.

But why?

Here are 5 reasons why we don’t ask for help.

1. Pride

It can exist in more than one way. Often pride is perceived as being arrogant, cocky and overconfident. But I believe it also manifests itself in a way where we are too good to ask for help. We’re not ‘that’ person, we don’t need ‘their’ help. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a proud person, by never admitting that you need anyone in a way says just that: you don’t need anyone. If you are going to ask for help, you’ll need to knock yourself down a peg or two which is hard, I know. But what’s the point in being at the top of the ladder if there’s no else beside you to enjoy the view? When you ask for help you must acknowledge that you are no better than the person you are asking. Which is true, and completely okay.

2. Admitting Defeat

No it does not mean you are weak. However asking for help DOES require you to admit that you CAN’T do it on your own. This can feel like weakness, admitting that you can’t do it. When so many other people seem to be doing just fine, why do you have to be that person to ask for help? You must be weaker than the rest right? Nope.
Admitting defeat is a pivotal stepping stone to achieving victory. Ironic huh?
It’s nice to have the idea that we’re on a forward journey, and maybe you are an independent person who wants to get there alone. But something will always come up, and you will have to accept the fact that the obstacle is too large to beat alone. Maybe defeat to you is admitting that you have an eating disorder or addiction. Maybe it is admitting that you don’t know where you’re life is headed and that scares you. Maybe it is simply admitting that you thought you were strong enough to do things alone, but you don’t want to anymore. Maybe it is admitting that you are lonely. Whatever it is, once you admit it, the power that it holds over you is now conquerable. I firmly believe that once darkness is brought into the light, it’s a lot easier to beat. Fighting it alone is like not seeing the blindfold, defeat is when you let someone take it off. Even if that starts as writing in a journal, any kind of outlet is better than letting it sit in your head.

3. Accepting That Others Might Know More Than You

Okay get ready, here it is…

Other people can be smarter AND wiser than you.

mind = blown.

Alright so maybe it’s not, but for many of us it is hard to believe and accept the fact that other people have lived through more than you, have experienced life, and have something to offer you. Many times they may be older, but I don’t think that always has to be the case. This can stem from the pride issue, but it can seriously hinder our ability to let people in if we don’t let them be more knowledgeable. I think that is why many people may be hesitant to see a counselor, because you’re admitting that they know something you don’t, and they might be able to help. I think it’s safe to say the majority of us have experienced this with our parents. Yes they are probably right, yes they probably know a little more, does that make it easier to not be the one in control? Not usually.
Putting your life in someone else’s hands is a difficult thing to do but the reality is there ARE people who know things. And they probably know them because of experiences similar to yours. So give them a chance to give advice, they’ll be happy to do it. But on the other hand, also know that they won’t always be right, and that’s okay too.

4. Trusting That Anyone Actually Wants To Help

This is hard. How do we know that people really mean what they say? Well, you don’t. That’s where trust comes in. You might have been hurt in the past, you might have had your trust shattered, and I know that it takes a long time to build back up. But you must trust that there are people who WANT to help. In the same way that you need to let go of regrets (see No Regrets), you need to let go of the idea that people can’t be trusted. It’s true, some can’t. But don’t generalize the entirety of your relationships to the one that didn’t work. It’s so easy to never reach out to people and assume that they wouldn’t actually want to help, but you just won’t know until you ask. In reality, most peopel would be willing to help. In our head, that number drastically decreases. If trust is hard for you, let someone in just a little, and let that trust grow as the relationship does.

5. Expecting People To Know That You Need Help Before You Ask

I probably could have numbered this the opposite way around, or maybe we’ll just say 5 represents the MOST IMPORTANT. This is my biggest weakness, so I completely understand anyone who feels this way.

” They must be able to see me in pain”
” If they cared, they would say something”
” They know me well, how can they not see something is wrong?”
” I’m clearly not okay, but no one notices”

Stop giving people so much credit. If they don’t ask you if you need help, that doesn’t mean for second that they don’t WANT to help. We lead busy, hectic lives, and as much as I’d love to believe that we are completely aware of how those closest to us are doing, we don’t. At least not to the extent that most of us need. It is so easy to wait for someone to ask, as if that makes it more real. Help can only be offered, not requested right? That’s what I’ve thought, and it doesn’t achieve anything. Whether you ask for help, or help is offered to you, it is still help. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic, if someone noticed something was off with you or if you called for their help. Like I said here, it’s not fair to expect people to know you better than you know yourself. Give them the credit to help, but don’t give them the credit to just know.

I’ll say it again. It’s hard to ask for help. But it’s worth it. I hope that you have the courage to do that today.

And if you want my help, it is always offered. For real.

Be loved today:
What is the the reason you connected with the most out of the 5? Why?

Also, check out the poll/survey thing at the bottom!

Original Photo Attribution: Kandy Jaxx

Stop Being Happy All The Time

 Generally, as a rule of humanity, or rule of thumb you could say, lying is wrong.

Right?

Then why do continuously spend our days lying to others about how we’re doing? Pretending to be happy when really there is so much more than that? Why do we practice our mask of contentment to the point where we get really really good at it?
When someone asks how your day was and you say ‘good’
how much of the time are you actually being honest?

I have a bank of instinctive responses to give when I’m asked how I’m doing. It’s a really hard to thing to be honest. To be vulnerable. I am really good at avoiding certain conversations, avoiding certain people who might actually care how I really am, because you have to go outside your comfort zone sometimes to really let someone in. And not only do you have to make an effort, you have to TRUST that they will receive your words and keep them safe. It’s easier to leave people on the outside with a classic, repeatable response. It’s easier to assume that they don’t want to hear it. But is that really how you want your life to be? Do you want it to be filled with people who only hear the “I’m good” and never the “Actually I’m having a rough time”.

I know how it feels to hold it in. I do it all the time. I don’t trust that anyone wants to listen, or that anyone could possibly have the time of day for me. But then, every once in a while, I’ll be honest. I mean really honest. Once I start talking, I usually don’t stop until it’s all out in the open. And you know what happens?

You break the walls. Not only do you break the walls of your own thoughts, and your own doubts getting out of your head, you break down the walls for others to be honest too. If someone is honest with me I feel:

1) Honoured that you shared something real with me
2) Glad you have given me the credit to listen and care
3) Scared to be honest myself and therefore relieved when you are able to open up

You don’t have to be happy all the time. Or pretend to be.

If you’re not happy, that’s okay too. You might have to be in good spirits for a job, and maybe you won’t spill your guts to the cashier at the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean you have to walk around like a zombie pretending to be a content, all-together person. If that’s you, awesome! But i’m pretty positive that does not describe the majority of people.

Reality is, life is tough. For most people. And with the multitudes of people that we interact with on a daily basis, happiness seems key to getting where we need to be. Keeping thoughts to ourselves is a primary component of much of our day. I won’t deny the reality of this because I understand that is the way it is. Happiness is what we will probably always seek even if it’s unattainable on a permanent basis. And defining it is a whole other debate.
But if we can do one useful thing while we’re here, why wouldn’t we try being real? So we can look back on our lives and know that other people were a part of them. Not just the things that were worthy of posting or framing, but all of it. If anything is going to change where you’re at, I think it’s honesty. Sometimes it takes being honest with others to then be able to be honest with yourself.
I don’t want to remember my life just as the really good parts that anyone would have wanted to be a part of. I want to remember it as a culmination of everything, of everything that got me to where I am.

We need to get better at being okay with not being okay. We need to be people who can let others know when we’re not alright, and stop lying all the time.

Getting used to the ‘happy’ version of you as a mask will mean that when it happens for real you won’t know how to respond.
Get used to the ‘happy’ you as it happens for real, and when it’s not there, try being honest about it.

If you are good, GOOD! I hope that you cherish it and share the goodness with others.
But let me challenge you in that the next time someone asks you how you are, think about your response and if it was genuine or if it was far from the truth.
Either way, let’s stop lying to each other and strive to be a community that is honest, open and willing to accept love from others.

BE loved today:

1) Think of one person you trust that you could tell how you really are. Then TELL THEM. Even if they haven’t asked, TELL THEM.
Then tell me how it went!

2) Ask someone how they REALLY are when they instinctively respond “good”. And then listen.

Have a great week, and BE real!

 

Original Photo Attribution: Leo Reynolds

More than what you think they think

We all put on a look or identity. Whether its required for a career or whether you do it just to fit in, we all do it to some extent. Sometimes, it feels appropriate for your environment, but sometimes it stops people from knowing the REAL you. 

Maybe you come across as a selfless, giving person but never seem to get it in return because no one is aware of your needs.

Maybe you feel known as athletic and competitive, and no one knows that there’s more to you than just sports.

Maybe you are good at supporting others in their gifts, so no one ever sees yours.

Maybe you’re that person that can make anyone laugh, but never gets taken seriously.

Maybe you’re quiet, and no one takes the time to let you speak.

Maybe you want people to ask about who you really are, and how you’re doing, but you don’t have the courage to ask them to tell you. You’re so used to being a certain way, it seems easier to just continue that way and pretend that its satisfactory.

This past year in my Social Psychology class I learned a term called “secondary deviance”. Typically it means when you naturally act in an unusual way and it gets noticed by others, you begin to consciously do it in response to other people treating you a certain way. That behavior becomes a part of your self-concept, of who you are. We learned it in terms of deviant behavior but I think it applies to many other areas.

For example:

You get good grades. You always have. You’re known as ‘the smart kid’. But maybe now you feel the pressure to continue to excel, to get good grades, and it becomes your identity. Maybe you feel like you’re ‘that’ person and you have to continue to be, even though inside you know you’re more than that and you have more to offer. 

When we don’t share our hearts with others, we get in a mindspin of..

“they think this about me, so I need to do it to affirm what they see”

“I’m this person, and that’s all I have to offer”

“I need to look okay, or else i’m weak”

“This is what I need to do to receive acceptance”

Let me be blunt. People don’t know you until you let them.

So don’t let what you think you’re seen as be all that you let yourself be.

And don’t wait for people to ask, it’s not fair to expect them to know your every need. Other than maybe a mother’s intuition, most people will never be in tune enough to know exactly what you need, so ASK.

If you let people in, and allow them to share in your journey, they have the opportunity to identify, encourage and strengthen you knowing the REAL part of you. 

It’s so hard. We want people to ask, to really care and to notice us, without us having to reach out. We want to be more than what is seen, but it’s hard to get to that point. 

And honestly, sometimes it doesn’t feel like there are people who would actually listen.

But there ARE. 

If its not family or friends, there are people out there that feel the way you do, I promise. Talk to someone, give them the chance to encourage you and sift away some of the lies you tell yourself.

Maybe they won’t have all the answers, but neither do you.

I might not know you, but I know you are more than all of the things that might be visible to me. I know you have a heart, a unique spirit, desires, dreams and fears. I know you have skills, gifts, longings and regrets. 

So be real with someone today. Whether its someone you know or someone you don’t know, whether it’s a relative, friend or counselor, let someone in. Let them share in your real-ness.

You are loved by many, even if they don’t tell you enough. 

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As with every post, feel free to contact me at any time. For more conversation, for more resources, for more encouragement, or for future updates hit me up:

emily.scott93@gmail.com

Cell: 289-808-4804