Monday, May 14, 2018

Maturity and Emotions

The other day, one of my best friends and I were discussing grief and letting go. Both of us have a hard time processing loss, and many people, especially in the United States, are uncomfortable with other people's emotional pain. Most of us aren't taught how to weather our emotions. Instead, we're expected to shut down and move the fuck on, as if it's possible to ignore the turmoil we experience while grieving. In cases of relationships ending, this process can be even more difficult when one person sets the rules around the situation without considering how each of us might need something different in order to heal.

Often, others look at those of us who are sensitive and emotional as immature when it's more often the case that anyone suggesting emotions can be shut off like a faucet is the one who's too immature to handle either his own or someone else's emotions or both. In this country, the suggested solution of dealing with emotions is to take something for it, a dose of cheer up, bitch (STM reference). We get labeled weak, crazy, overly emotional, or hysterical, tactics of oppression. We are made to feel worse about ourselves because we don't close ourselves off immediately and hide from the world, though I admit I've done that in certain situations. Still, how anyone deals with loss is personal and shouldn't be judged, unless actions taken in the process are infringing on someone else, of course. Reacting and feeling are two different things.

Those who can't or don't want to witness your emotions or deal with your feelings might put you down for simply experiencing and handling a situation in a different way. Discounting another person is unfair and cruel. I suppose in terms of partnerships that's why those who start off as friends first have a better chance of a healthy parting. There's always the friendship to fall back on, though no breakup is ever easy. When it's a marriage that's ending, there's more than the emotional aspects to consider.

I'm probably not the best person to be doling out relationship advice. I've been told I'm not relationship material, not marriage material, not model material (even though that doesn't really matter or shouldn't in this case), too fucked up, and am pretty much only good for a fuck buddy type situation if that. Being in a relationship was never high on my priority list anyway, though, so it's no big surprise that I suck at them. Fuck it, though, I can care about people and love deeply. It's just that it doesn't always translate into anything productive. Highly sensitive people often have a hard time communicating, especially in potentially volatile or emotional situations. We think too far ahead and worry about outcomes instead of being fully present and trusting our immediate feelings.

In my own case, I generally only like being around people in small doses and need a lot of alone time in order to feel more comfortable around others. That's not exactly the best way to develop deeper connections with anyone. I do have some insight when it comes to human interaction, though, and deep down I'm a romantic at heart. I sometimes like being around a few select people, and I love hearing about that deep Romeo and Juliette type partnership, the kind in which one wouldn't want to live without the other, though I'm not a fan of offing yourself if things don't work out in the end. I mean, fuck that. There's plenty to offer the world as a single person. It's just nice to think that there might be that kind of passion in the world, not just for another human being either.

As I was discussing all of this with my friend, it got me thinking about how often women, in particular, are discounted when it comes to physical pain as well, a topic I've been meaning to address but keep putting off for some reason. At some point, I will buckle down and write out my thoughts, but for now, I'm sitting back and noticing that discounting emotional pain is similar to discounting physical pain. If someone is doing this to you, know that your feelings are valid, and your pain is real. Find others who will hear you, and don't let anyone belittle you for wearing your heart on your sleeve. I fully believe the world would be a better place if so many of us weren't closed off from our feelings.

“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”

― Yogi Bhajan


  1. Great post Lize! Keep "wearing your heart on your sleeve," and thanks for writing :)