“So I was thinking….” a phrase that people close to me have come to know as a signal that a deep topic is about to tumble out. What dictates our behaviors? Why do we hurt? How can we make relationships better? How can we ward off the existential dread? These are just some of the questions I let marinate in my mind in order that I might derive some sort of understanding and solutions. Of course, I also wonder about such mystical things as how is it that Michael Bolton’s 1990s work can be so epic on a serious level, while simultaneously being epic on a satirical level? However, the answer to the gloriousness of Michael Bolton might be far too mystical for me to ever discover so I’ll move on. The point is, these are the issues that I think and talk about. This is to the entertainment of some and the chagrin of most. These are not the standard topics that a good majority of people enjoy conversing about in their spare time. Very few people, on a Friday night after a long week of work, ready to go out and leave their worries behind, are saying, “Hey, you know what sounds amazing right now? Let’s talk about deep issues that might possibly bring up pain and/or insecurities, so that we can really grasp and feel the full depth of what is going on in our lives!” Trust me, I know not everyone is like me.
I like to think of myself as an explorer of sorts. An explorer of concepts and ideas. Philosophy and ideology I see as living breathing phenomenon to be observed and studied. Delving into even the smallest of concepts can lead towards golden treasure, or towards giant boulders sending us to our demise. Meandering through research of the life and death of ideas is one of awe and wonderment. These concepts are the base of personal growth, mental health, and they dictate our everyday lives. The intensity and vastness of this fascinates and, at times, scares me.
Opposition and avoidance to talking about underlying causes to the daily issues we face is something I have encountered and have come to terms with. If I had gotten too “real” about certain topics, people would tend to either be annoyed or they would become angry with me. This has, at times, created great conflict in my relationships. When this happened, I had two sides that tried to come out.
First, I had my People Pleaser side. People Pleaser was quiet, respectful and was a very good sport with whatever was going on. She had lots of smiles and would never even move an eyebrow if she thought it would upset anyone in the slightest. She would rather take a beating and suffer in silence than make anyone upset, disappointed, or inconvenienced.
The other side was Honest Person. Honest Person wanted to be authentic. She was not silent if she saw injustice or pain and she would not tolerate it. She would rather take the risk of making someone upset if it meant finding real solutions to an issue.
For years, these sides would be much like the angel and devil on my shoulders. I tried to keep them peacefully working together, giving them each a chance to partake in the decision making. However, eventually I realized that their differences were too great, and I would have to choose one or the other in each dispute.
For a while, the winning streaks were neck and neck. It seemed if I chose People Pleaser one round, then I would choose Honest Person the next. But after some time, I found myself choosing Honest Person more consistently. Honest Person just started making more sense to me. Surprisingly, People Pleaser seemed almost happy to lose.
Maybe mostly, I chose Honest Person because I find freedom in honesty. There is an inherently healing quality that comes from exposing raw truth, even if it isn’t that pretty looking at first. So, I continue to learn to accept the criticism and disgusted glances that come my way, in trade for something grander. I do this despite the horrific and painful groanings that come from People Pleaser shouting, “No! No! We just want to be loved and accepted, even if it means compromising ourselves and keeping our mouth shut while others walk all over us!”
For all the opposition, though, there have also been an amazing amount of people who value my thoughts, and that is a big reason I press on. My husband, being my biggest supporter, encouraged me to listen more closely to Honest Person. He has taught me so much about life and about myself that I now have the courage to pursue something more than simply surviving. I can honestly say that I am starting to thrive, which, with my history, is rather impressive and surprising (more on that later). I do not claim to have all the answers. I do not have the one and only proper thoughts. I am simply enjoying the journey of where these thoughts lead and what all can be discovered along the way. There is so much that I don’t know, but I want to share what I’ve explored so far.
I think that when these types of issues are talked about, somehow is cleansing. It lets us know that we are not alone in the world, and that we don’t have to hide who we are. The hiding of our thoughts and feelings seems to destroy us from the inside out like a cancer. Whereas talking about it is like surgery. It is messy, there is no guarantee it will work, but it’s our best shot at healing.
So here I sit and here you read. Welcome to my thoughts. I hope you derive some benefit from it. At the very least, I hope I entertain you as I therapeutically divulge to you my ponders. Now that you’re here, “So, I was thinking….”