Why Being Human Needn’t Be So Tough

by Jamie Williams
being human

As species go, we’re pretty damn tough on ourselves. Not only do we make life so much harder for ourselves, but for each other too. I can’t help but think, why? Is this really what we were put on this planet for? 

Life is full of surprises and each and every one of us faces a daily battle of our emotions, regardless of whether we suffer from any mental health conditions or not. Our complex emotions, after all, are considered our evolutionary advantage, albeit some slightly maladaptive for 21st century living.

Our minds are truly wonderful creations, but they are quite literally wired to be neurotic. We’re built to worry, to fear danger, be anxious and critical. It’s what make us human. For some of us however, the wiring causes a myriad of physical and mental illnesses that go far beyond the norm.

Anxiety. Worries. Stress. Fears. Anger. Joy. Sadness. Surprise. Guilt. The turbulent assault that our minds face each and every day is quite extraordinary, and yet we’re just expected to shut up and deal with it. After all, we’re all in it together, right? Just an average day will see you think and feel your way through all of the above, and more. When you really sit and consider the bank of past life events and conditioning on top, it makes you appreciate just how strong and resilient we can be. But are we making it tougher than it needs to be? I think so.

Just take any unexpected change in your life – let’s say, for example, a relationship breakup. There’s no denying how traumatic it can be to say goodbye to a loved one. I mean, quite literally you’ve invested so much of your love in another being and then one day they’re just, not there any more. Just like that. Gone. So on top of our daily emotions, all of a sudden we’re also dealing with the huge disruption change brings to our life: the sadness, grief, pain and the affects on our self esteem, identity/ego, confidence, mood and so on. The implications are huge. That’s somebody’s one and only life shaken to the core right there, and yet we get a few weeks to process that before we’re told ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’, right? So hang on, I don’t get to honour my feelings and I’m expected to just bury my head in the sand? Sounds sensible, society.

The problem is, we have far too much sympathy and not enough empathy. Yeah yeah, I know we all experience heartbreak/loss and so play me a violin and all, but I think we’re missing the point. Just because it happens so often, and to so many people, that doesn’t take away from the impact it has on our fragile and already battered emotional minds. When was the last time you truly stopped to think about how somebody must feel, imagining and feeling it as if you were in their shoes? When was the last time you really gave someone the space to get to the bottom of their feelings, without assuming they must be over it already?

Think about it: life would be so much simpler if only we knew what eachother really felt. Just straight up honesty. Yet, we make our lives so difficult by feeling guilty and even ashamed to talk about our feelings, and in turn create a culture of burying heads in sand when it comes to talking about our mental health. How is that serving anybody? It quite literally is an illusion we’ve created ourselves. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

We expect others, and ourselves, to just deal with their collective life drama without so much as a peep. Is it any wonder why mental health is such a growing concern? Let’s get real about this and talk. Like, really talk. Give people the space to do that – and that starts right with you.

It’s simple really. Physics will tell you that energy in must always equal energy out. We must have a release for the constant stimuli bombarding us daily, so the trick is to channel it. There’s no need to let it all build up as tears or fears, but instead talk or write about it. Let it all out. It really is that simple, but how many of you actually talk or write about how you feel every single day? We need an output. We need a culture whereby that’s ok.

And this isn’t just about love and loss. Think war, corruption and inequality; many academics will debate that a growing lack of empathy around the world is what will eventually be the cause of our demise as a species. Pretty sad, no?

We only have one shot at this; I’m constantly reminding myself that the life we’re so blessed with is not a trial run. It really does have an ending, which is often completely unpredictable. That’s what makes life so precious, and yet it’s something we need reminding of daily.

The truth is, there’s nothing stopping any of us from speaking out and asking for help. Nothing but ourselves. Why waste the incredible gift of your life with unnecessary anxiety and fear, when it could all be so much simpler? Write about it. Talk about it. Stop giving so much of a fuck about what people might say. The truth is, everybody is too busy occupying their mind with their own self-conscious thoughts, let alone to have time to think anything about you! This is your life: take control and make sure you really live it. Let this be your daily reminder and permission to live your life, freely.

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