As human beings, when the tide changes and carries us into unknown territory, we panic. Our body jerks. We think: death! Memories flash in front of us. That’s our reactive nature which sometimes can cause more harm than good. It’s a trait that I have been noticing more and more as of late, in both myself and others. And not just in critical situations.
When our favourite artist releases new music, we are more concerned with sharing our instant thought as opposed to just breathing in the melodies and letting the music do what it does. Someone does something that we don’t like; “oh what a bitch”. Our train gets cancelled, oh let’s complain…one more time (us Londoners will complain about this all day long). The problem isn’t that this is our initial response in situations, it’s that we love amplifying whatever sentiment we are feeling by using any and every outlet available to us. It’s as if we put on that loudspeaker and scream I AM ANGRY! I HATE THIS! THIS IS BULLSHIT. HEY LOOK AT ME! HEAR ME! MY OPINION MATTERS. MY FEELINGS MATTER!
Yes, your opinion does matter, as do your feelings. A lot. But I wish we would live with those sentiments a little longer. Let them marinate. Let them figure themselves out before we allow others to do it for us. Or set ourselves up to feel a certain way when in reality the context doesn’t quite match what we are communicating.
CONTEXT. It’s like that vitamin you often forget or choose not to take. That meal you skip. Those extra hours you spend staying up instead of sleeping. When you are choosing something other than the betterment of your well-being.
For example; Last week I was let go by my employer (nobody likes the word FIRED) and I went home with a smile on my face and complete relief #truestory. You’re probably thinking ‘oookay”. CONTEXT; A month ago I started a new job after leaving my old one (where I was for over three and a half years) six weeks prior. A job that I took because I wanted to make sure my bills got paid –something most of us can relate to. But here’s the thing. I left my old job because besides leaving behind a toxic environment and having outgrown the role itself, I wanted to pursue something that would make me happy. However as always life gets in the way. While I was applying for my ideal jobs, I also had to apply for the safe ones. The ones I knew I really stood a chance with because; experience and bills. So I started the new job all the while knowing and constantly telling myself that this was to be temporary. I would save money and leave at the end of my three-month probation. It was a familiar role but simply in a different setting which at first was exciting but the novelty wore off soon after my second week. I started wondering to myself if I could stand to keep doing this for three months. I noticed I wasn’t making an effort to blend in and get to know my new colleagues. I was reluctant to update my LinkedIn profile. I clocked in and I clocked out. Mentally and physically. Day in, day out. It felt like a betrayal to myself.
I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do and that was to be doing something that made me happy or at least helped me grow. And this job was not making me happy. About two weeks ago I started getting that all too familiar feeling of ‘I don’t want to be here’. I wonder if anybody there ever felt my vibe. But anyway, fast forward to today when I was told that my probation was being terminated prematurely. Initially I was confused. Like “really? Over this? Is this a prank?”. Then I was hurt. My spirit withdrew. My voice got deeper. I spoke less. My heart started beating faster. I walked to my desk calm on the outside but tensed with disbelief on the inside. Was this really happening? As I sat there processing my thoughts, I could feel a smirk wanting to form on my face. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. That’s the one line that kept repeating itself in my head. Soon I would feel the tension leave my body. I became conscious of my reactions. I reasoned with myself when moments of “oh my god I can’t believe this is happening” hit me every now and then. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON became my mantra and with that I exhaled and left genuinely feeling good. Now this could have gone the other way. There could have been a colourful scene in that office. Expletives being uttered left and right (all by me). I could have done whatever we do when we are angry and hurt and confused and well… disappointed. Fortunately, I knew enough to recognise that as just my hurt pride. Me? Fired? Shit, never saw that coming.
CONTEXT. How different would things be if we stopped and thought about it more? Looked around and really understood the setting. The real circumstances. Not this world we built up by over analysing and over sharing. Over sensitising. Over romanticising. We don’t always need to make our frustration poetic or even our simple joys. Let things be. Let the elements of things be.
Now the other problem is how do we know if we’re truly being ourselves or if the us that we have come to identify with is comprised of this image / persona that we have built up through years of REACTING?