"Feelings or emotions are the universal language and are to be honored. They are the authentic expression of who you are at your deepest place." Judith Wright
Communication, communication, commmunication - say what you need to say and put yourself out there. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to tell people how you feel - whether that be in general, about them, or something else. Feelings are meant to be shared. It's that connection that links one soul to another. It's a bond that that brings two people together. It's that communing that gets people to recognize the humanity of one another. Process through your stuff, whatever that means to you. If it's sorting through the past traumas and experiences that made you the way you are - do it. If it's rifling through the memories and items of yesteryear that remind you of an old flame - go ahead. If it is figuring out some semblance of the unsolvable enigma that is you - make it happen. Then share what you find with others; or even better yet, do some of that emotional work with others. The operative word there being some. Emotional labor is exhaustive and can easily become burdensome; own your proverbial "stuff" to the best of you ability. Speak out loud what your heart desires. Write out your most terrifying fears. Share what makes you laugh uncontrollably, your stomach drop, and your palms sweat. The world is so much more vibrant when we use our full range of emotions.
Who is on your mind right now? Just the first name that comes to your mind. Stop right now and think about it. Who are you thinking of? When was the last time you talked to them? Was it via social media or a text message? When did you last hear their voice, see their face, or hug them in a full embrace? Take out your phone and call them. Yeah. Right now. If they don't answer - just a leave a voice mail. I know we all hate them but nothing is a substitute for a good old fashioned phone call. Don't know what to say? Speak from your heart or just tell them that you were thinking of them, and wanted to hear from them. That's all it takes. I don't know if it's just me but I am constantly thinking about people. Work and all of life's other endeavors barely even register for me. I just see flashes of my family, and my friends perpetually. And when I'm thinking of all these people I have to be intentional in knowing that I can literally just talk to them. Missing my siblings, great - Facetime them at a moment's notice. Haven't heard from parents in a while - cool, what is an hour's drive to see them? Haven't caught up with my friends - time to book a weekend trip, send a postcard, or setup a time to talk. Life is about people. Why then do we spend some much time separated from our people? As much, and as often as possible, be with your people - life is purposeless without them AND tell your people that they are well ... your people. Do they know? And how do you know that they know? Make it explicit.
What stops us from reaching out to people? Maybe they're a total stranger and we don't know them. Maybe it seems like it's been a long time. Maybe we're worried we're bothering people; orr maybe we're just afraid they won't be receptive to our outreach? There are so many unknowns and what ifs. The only thing we can know for sure is that people will never know what we're thinking, what we're experiencing, or what we feel if we don't tell them. It's not implied. If you love someone tell them. If you want something ask for it. If need help seek it out. If you are interested in someone, say it directly. If you get good service, if you like how someone is showing up, if you appreciate what someone did some someone else - proclaim it. Say it. Write it. Share it. Live it. Whatever medium is most comfortable for you - use it. The more we practice the easier it becomes to be vulnerable, to be authentic, and to be present.
I get it. Telling someone especially someone you don't know for sure will feel the same as you, about your feelings can be intimidating. I have found that more often than not people not only feel the same way but feel freed to be able to say the same once you have a had the gumption to do so first. I know it can be scary but what's at stake is more horrifying - people going their lives without knowing that you cared for them. There's something deeply profound about looking someone in the eyes and telling them that you are grateful for them, that you care about them, or that you love them. It's this deeply personal intimacy unlike any other between people. It's raw, it's courageous, and it's unapologetic. What's the the worst that could happen? We could be rejected, rebuked, or ignored but even then at least we have done our part, it's up to others to respond. And responding does not have to be the same way - accepting what people offer us just like we want them to with regards to ourselves is all we can do. Not all we love will love us or back, or need to love us back. There's solace in expressing feelings regardless of their reciprocity. What we feel matters; what we feel is our perspective; what we do with those feelings is up to us - explicitly. X