I’ve long said that the one true thing we all desire as human is to be understood. Think of any childhood (or recent adult) angst. How many times have we felt deep in our souls “You don’t get it, you couldn’t possible know what this feels like!” ie, you can’t understand me or my pain I am experiencing. I am not understood. Even now in this world of rapidly evolving language for inclusivity (yes please) and marginalized groups having more awareness than ever, we still all experience this feeling of being misunderstood.
It’s true – nobody can live inside your head and know your thoughts as you. We are all as individual as snowflakes – a moniker I wear proudly – and not one of us the exact same as the other. Hot damn! What a exciting thought! Simple, uninventive, DEFINITELY not new information, but a fun reminder that never ceases to blow my mind. So how do we bridge that gap between our singularity as unique individuals and lessening that angst of feeling totally alone in this life?
A good friend of mine posted this on facebook the other day and tagged her building mates, two other good friends of mine. (link at the bottom) It broke down the idea of social capital, how and why it is the decline, and how we can fix it. Remember that whole idea of borrowing a cup of sugar? While it may be intimidating/embarrassing/vulnerable to ask somebody for something you need, research shows that this idea of asking/helping/small talk strengthens our communities and actually makes us healthier humans. Ones who are less lonely, happier, and better functioning on the whole. I read this beautiful illustration while I laughed and cried because it so perfectly illustrates (haha see what I did there?) what I have been doing with Single Girl Cookies for the past 6 years. Life’s work AFFIRMED. Talk to that check out clerk! Share a small inside joke with the dude on the subway! Yeah, you both saw that midtown, suited up man just do a Michael Jackson spin – acknowledge that and CONNECT!
I’ve fallen out of kindness drops lately. Work has been challenging for many, many months. That community that I thrive on has disappeared and I feel like I am captaining a ship without a lighthouse. It is frustrating when you feel that age old angst of “why can’t you understand me??” in a place where you’re supposed to be a professional. It is frustrating when you feel someone is not listening. And for me, when my work is my life (for good or bad, I know), that ickiness creeps into every crevice.
I guess what I’m really thinking about at 1:30am is how I can get back to what really matters. Connection. Humanity. How do we reconcile those things and still live in today’s modern world? AND be professional, functioning adults?? I wish I knew. All I can really say for sure is, wherever you are at – I feel you, and I hear you. In the meantime until I figure that out, could I borrow a cup of sugar?
Awesome link to perfectly executed hypothesis: https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/dirt/community-relationships-borrowing-from-neighbors-strengthens-democracy-20190318?fbclid=IwAR3krwhkSZ8P8dES272IwFs56l4Gnh9THg4volM-M0xUkRgiO9nr_MqsMT0