How awkward. How embarrassing. How mortifying. How much we must save face, deny feelings, and little white lie.
I do it too. We all do. And I can’t for the life of me understand why it came to be this way. I will not go into the conspiracies of the internet nuts and claim the conformity agenda of some all-consuming other–I’m not one of those people.
It’s not happening because of any of that.
No. It’s because we do it to ourselves. We box ourselves in metaphorical walls and containers because we fear what must come from the outside world should we ever show a smidgen of concern, or excitement, or God forbid real human emotion.
Well, perhaps that is just a tad dramatic. But, in all honesty, how often do we deny our real words? How many conversations are nothing but small talk because we can’t say to someone the things we wish we could?
How many lost opportunities, unfulfilled feelings, and compliments must we throw down the drain in the name of being quietly acceptable?
You know what I heard a few times when I first said I was blogging? Praise. I got praise for being able to “put my words out there.” At being willing to risk judgment.
As if we don’t already. Social media and more videos every day than you or I could ever watch, let alone conceive of with one mind.
We are huge and sweeping as a people in terms of being open to others. And yet, for every heartwarming story, we hear one about someone losing a job, losing a relationship, etc. for something they shared.
Be careful what you post or who you say things to people, of course, but…just the fear of the awkward is so intense. So pervasive. So paradoxical among us. Get a new dog and all must know. Understand aspects of yourself, or have an odd curious thought, and that must stay shut inside your head.
It would be hypocritical of me to claim we should all buck up and say what we want to say. That we should all say what we have never said. What we will never say. Free ourselves of the mountain of unspoken words and feel lighter than air.
No. That would be hypocritical of me.
But, perhaps, instead, I could ask those who read this to take an effort to forgive the ones who say things, who have the nerve to spill corked words.
Because, even if those words sting, I think the person holding it in might feel even more pain.
Try to forgive them for it. So, at the very least we might allow the brave ones to say what is on their minds.
And if their words are cruel, or unintelligent, then at least we have the means to educate and inspire, instead of letting a person like that operate under the thoughts paired with those secret words.
Words hurt, words burn. They fester like sores and spread like plagues. They also spark new ideas and beliefs and cultures. Allow a person to explain their mindset, and empathy can spark in the listener.
Criminals and murderers and sociopaths speak as well. But so do saviors and saints and caregivers.
How many things could have existed if only a word had been said? How many things could have been prevented? If only a person overcame the social concern?
How awkward, how embarrassing, how mortifying, how necessary, how important, how changing?
A kind word never spoken, is not kind at all.
So let’s have more conversations about the elephants, whether known by everyone or not, in the room.
Or, at least, I’ll try to do so in my life.