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February 15, 2021

Why Faking our Emotions is no Longer an Option.

I am fine with being an Eyeore if it means I’m not faking my emotions.

I am a self-proclaimed “horrible friend.”

I don’t answer the phone; I don’t follow through. I will cancel plans (back when people had plans), and I am easily jealous of your accomplishments.  

But for the people with whom I have invested time and have deep relationships, I would do anything for them. I will answer the phone in the middle of the night and do all I can to show up for them.

I struggle—as I know many of us do—with social media, in terms of seeing others’ “highlight reels.” There are only a few people in my life who I am sincerely happy for when good things happen, and these are the people who I authentically love and admire. They are the people who have been with me through thick and thin, don’t put up a front, and tell it like it is. We can joke about things being sh*tty, and we can commiserate together. We can be real. We can let our guards down.

There is a certain intimacy when you can be real with someone, and to be honest, it’s quite rare to find a human I can be that real with—that isn’t just being “Minnesota Nice.”

I feel like I’ve been around long enough to see through the bullsh*t. I feel that just like a picture tells a thousand words, I can tell when the smile is fake and there is a sadness in your eyes. 

I can tell when there is a surface-level conversation going on, and I don’t want any part of it. I want to be real and go deep and no more talk about the damn weather.

I don’t want to hear about everyone else. Tell me about you.

Tell me about your hopes and dreams and desires. Tell me about the time you felt abandoned by your mother. Tell me about the time your father never came home or had an affair. Tell me all of the good stuff. I want to get right in there with you and listen to why you cry.

I will tell you to let it out and to breathe. It’s okay; you are in a safe place. I will listen without judgment and hold space for you in this moment. 

Tell me about your insecurities, who you see in the mirror. The voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t good enough and that you will never amount to anything. Let’s talk about how to change those voices. Let it out into the open so we can heal this broken mindset together. 

Let me put my hand on your shoulder and say a prayer for you. Let me tell you what I see in you.

I once heard that it’s impossible to hate another person once you’ve heard their story. We are all on this earth trudging along, and it’s time to put down the facade of “being fine.”

Here’s the acronym for FINE:

F: f*cked up

I: insecure

N: neurotic

E: emotional

Tell the truth about how you are feeling the next time someone asks. You will be surprised how it catches them off guard.

I received a text from a friend this morning that sounded super upbeat and cheerful. She was excited to be heading up to go sledding with her beautiful family. At that moment, I couldn’t reciprocate with a cheerful demeanor, so the old me would have ignored the text until I felt better a few days later.

Instead, I tried to practice my authenticity and to be true to myself. I didn’t abandon how I was feeling; I gave my feelings wings.

I said, “I’m doing okay, but kind of struggling.” I left it at that, just in case she wasn’t available to have an exchange, but I told the truth of my reality. She inquired and asked if I was overburdened with work and family stuff, and I said actually, “No, I am feeling a lot of grief this holiday season. I have some anxiety about money, and I am missing my son who is out of state.” I told the truth. I didn’t fake it or sugarcoat it, and can I explain the freedom in that?

We had a lovely exchange and I am all the better for it. She offered me a new perspective and because she is someone who has known me since my teenage years, I really felt heard and valued, and could easily move on and go about my day, not having to carry the weight alone.

I have really enjoyed using Marco Polo, since Covid started, with a friend back home in Seattle. It is so nice to be able to just pick up and talk, and let it flow without any engagement. It is so therapeutic. It truly feels like therapy. We get to have personal, vulnerable exchanges in our own timeframe while miles apart. It has helped bridge the divide that I’ve felt during this pandemic time. 

It is really easy to put all of our time and effort into making our highlight reel look amazing and breathtaking. I know how it feels to sit in a room surrounded by people but feel so alone because the conversations don’t go any deeper than what the neighbor across the street is up to. 

I’m not down for small talk unless I’m at the market, and even then, I feel like when Covid is over, I will engage in deep convos with just about anyone, as I’m starved for interaction. 

We owe it to ourselves to get clear on our intentions with others, to show up, to be true to ourselves. If relationships are lacking value, it’s okay to reevaluate and have a heart-to-heart with the person to try to bring things to a deeper level. 

We are deserving of blessings, love, and light. We can do this together, but not alone. Let someone get to know you. Share your insecurities and reveal to another, the deepest parts of yourself.

Really, what do we have to lose, but inauthentic relationships?

~

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