In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Undo.”
If I could un-invent one thing, it would be poker face. I’m referring to the way we hide our emotions. I can see the history of how this has developed through being strong for those who are weak, tricking ourselves to be brave so that we can walk through some pretty intense stuff, but it has had a negative side effect on our most important relationships. We avoid vulnerability. Are we becoming robots?
In my early twenties, I had a very life-changing realization that happened right around New Year’s. My friend Anna can attest to this. I reflect on this time by calling it the “Just trying to be honest with myself” phase. My brave face was getting tired, it was so permanently embedded in my mind that after a while, I couldn’t tell who’s life I was living. This is how “being brave” effects your path. Implementing this reflection was difficult. I had to let go of outside forces that expected certain things. I ended a six year relationship, got a studio apartment in a city I’ve always wanted to live in, and began freelancing. This felt honest.
Whenever I am on the listening side of a friend or co-worker who has beef with someone, I keep this in mind. I’ll listen to their day dream responses, insights that weren’t voiced. And most of the time, I end up with this conclusion “What would happen if you responded to them with the exact opinions that you just voiced to me?” Let’s look at an example:
My friend: “Pat always gives me the pink frosted doughnut!” And he knows I only like the blue frosted ones!”
Me: “I see, I see, doughnut frosting is really important to you, I know.”
My friend: “I just wanna be like “Pat, the blue ones are gross, I want a pink one!”
Me: “Why don’t you just say that to Pat, maybe he forgot! Maybe he remembered incorrectly!”
This makes sense for a few reasons: 1. Because it sounds honest. 2: Because you are being straight forward without any fluffy cushy talk 3: Because it scares you, which honesty should. That’s how you know you’re doing it right.
Being emotional is scary, and that’s fantastic! The good stuff is always scary, no one likes to walk around being vulnerable all day. But if you practice vulnerability, it’s easier to get over yourself and make real connections with those you care about.
So, to re-cap. Let’s un-invent poker face. Let’s re-invent vulnerability. This would do us all come good.