There is a weird trend that I’m beginning to see within myself and among my friends lately. On the outside looking in, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising but I’m on the inside and so it’s weird to me.
People are desperate for community (and no, I don’t mean the critically-acclaimed TV show).
People who I’d never guess would suggest a linkup are suggesting it. People who I thought had a great group of friends around them are seeking more intimate settings and activities. As we get older and are making life-changing decisions, people are sharing their hopes, dreams and fears more.
We’re starting to realise that life is about relationships. This terrifies me.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that we’re learning. But I’m not used to this. I don’t think many of us are. We lose ourselves in work, sex, hobbies and we’ll covertly tell all our secrets through these things but never explicitly to another human being. This is uncharted territory, or at least territory that is only explored under extreme circumstances.
But that’s just it. As my peers and I approach 30, everything is now extreme. It’s make or break time. This is the (supposed) last time to launch ourselves into great heights, continue to coast comfortably or buckle under the weight of expectation in a society that is not designed for optimal living.
So while we congregate under an ever-pressing need to connect, can we actually do it? I’m not so sure. I think the will is there but the courage isn’t.
Whenever I tell someone I quit my job they call me brave. But it isn’t completely because of bravery. It was also that I was dying inside. You’ll do anything to escape the stale potato salad smelling fingers of death around the neck of your spirit. “I’m dying here, so I might as well die doing what I want to do.”
So when it comes time to connect, I think those of us who have been slowly dying will be the ones who emerge first with the most to say.
This is the same when it comes to anything that we want in life.
Most people aren’t willing to make a change until they’ve done the same thing so many times and have gotten the same result that they punch a wall into another realm.
“But Jason, isn’t there a way that we can just do the things we know we’re supposed to do?”
Yes, there is. It involves you looking at the emotions behind your actions, or lack thereof.
Continuing with the topic of connection, one might want to connect and share more intimate thoughts with one’s friends, but for some reason one simply cannot do it.
One can ask oneself, “How do I feel about the thought of talking about [topic].” Pay attention to any emotions or bodily sensations that come up. This is the emotion that is blocking you. If you continue to ask how you feel about said topic and allow yourself to feel whatever comes up, that emotion eventually goes away leaving nothing but space.
“The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace is transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.” — Eckhart Tolle
The surrender that Tolle is referring to is the switch from resisting your emotions to instead allowing yourself to feel your emotions. In my opinion, this is the best base for personal transformation. All permanent change must begin here.
The best part about this is that you no longer have to force yourself to do anything. You will see that the emotion that is present is an indication that you are blocking yourself. There is some thought or trauma that is trying to prevent you from being hurt.
If you were a kid and you talked about something that was hurtful and your parents didn’t listen to you, you may have internalized the thought that no one cares about your opinion. An emotionally-charged thought like that which goes unchecked will make you unable to share how you feel.
Then, years later, when you desperately want to express yourself, you still won’t be able to. Why? Because of a thought you had when you were a child.
Furthermore, if you try to push through the emotion and communicate, you may find yourself unable to put into words what you want to say. Sorry, but the emotion will not be thwarted until it is accepted. Love yourself enough to let yourself feel however you feel. Your parents or friends might not have given you the opportunity but don’t make the mistake they did and continue to deprive yourself of acceptance.
There is a surprising amount of toxicity that we have blindly accepted and subjected ourselves to. In the advent of change, there must come an acknowledgment of why we could never change in the first place. Whether it be connecting with loved ones or starting a business, let us at least have the courage to look at why we haven’t done so already, feel it, embrace it and begin.