…what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince)
What do you need (the most) now?
If you one day decide to ask people what they need (the most) at that moment, they will probably give you a materialistic answer. I need food, clothes, a new house, car or phone, a vacation or just the money. Few are those who will tell you they need something else, something not materialistic. Just someone to be there for them. Someone to listen to their thoughts and give them a big hug. Someone who can comfort them in a difficult situation, be it when things went wrong at work, the tiredness kicked in and all the frustration came out, or when someone died. These are, usually, moments when we just add a few more bricks to our walls and answer that we’re fine, we just need to do something about it. We need to fix the situation at work, drink more coffee or take care of the funeral.
Yes, we really need to do something. To slow down. To take it easy. To just let the emotions flood us. And ask for help. It’s okay to ask someone to give you a hug (even when you’re not sad, but all the more so, when you are). It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to shout when the pressure on your chest is so intense. It’s okay.
But we don’t do that. We need to be strong. We are taught that doing this means being vulnerable. And being vulnerable means being weak. And weakness is not a cool feature to be added to your CV. And so we just make the wall taller and add layers over layers on the real feelings we feel. We’re fine.
“I’m fine” is one of the biggest lies on Earth. You are not always fine. Sometimes you are. But sometimes you are just agitated, you are sad, you are angry, you are confused, upset and numb. And it’s okay to be like this. It’s normal to be like this. But it’s not okay to pretend you are fine and not ask for help. Maybe others won’t know what to do. Maybe there is nothing to do. But a few words from someone who empathizes with you or a speechless hug can help more than you can imagine.
Humans are not made to live alone. They ache for connection. Shared emotions are what make relationships better. And good relationships are what truly make a human being happy. Ask the elders what are their regrets. Most of them will tell you it’s the amount of time and energy they spent at work or doing other worthless stuff, instead of investing it in the relationships with their loved ones. Nobody says you should not work. Or do some meaningless activities once in a while. But be careful how much you invest in that. It might end up costing you more in the end.
So, why are we so blind to see that we are the only ones who can change something? Because we are not used to this. We are not used to share our needs and ask for closeness. No. You have to be strong. You can’t have such needs.
This started early in our childhoods and was perpetuated later in our adolescence and then adult life. When asked “Why are you crying?”, most people won’t know to give an answer. Or will just say… because I’m sad. We don’t know how to recognize our emotions. We don’t talk about them. It’s a shame to not be always happy.
And the most interesting part about this is that, most of the times, we are the ones to be the hardest on ourselves. We think of ourselves that we need to be strong. We think others will see our vulnerabilities and will not like us anymore. What a silly thought…
However cliché it may sound, the ones who truly like us, will do it because of our flaws, not despite them. Because that makes us human. Because when they see our flaws, they don’t think about theirs that much. We all have good and bad parts. But the idea is to accept them all. Nobody is perfect here. The idea is to open to the ones we love and let them see us, the utterly and truly us.