I’ve noticed a trend in Facebook posts in my feed lately where the author writes a general statement:
“Hey people! The right thing to do is to text BACK when someone texts you a question!”
“Wake up, people! You are NOT supposed to look at your phone during an entire meeting. Get some manners!”
“You would think people would know by now, but I guess some people just don’t know how to behave.”
but the author doesn’t say what happened to inspired the expression, or, what I’m more interested in, how are they feeling now? What is behind those introductory and vague words? A few times recently, I’ve asked the authors if they wanted to elaborate. “Do you want to say what happened that inspired this?”
I am curious, and I’m also interested in how we can all become more present, more embodied, more able to feel our feelings and express ourselves directly. Have you ever asked someone how they feel and they tell you what happened instead, or something about the other person? “How do you feel?” “Well she is such a bitch! She said that to me and I just can’t believe her.” I’m sure I’ve done that.
But is it so unusual for us to bypass our feelings with general indignation? Lord knows I’m not always the most accurate communicator, but eventually, I have to tend to my feelings. Maybe it’s a first step . . .
There is a growing movement toward more authentic relating, and maybe because I’m surrounded by such things (including being a Living Inquiries facilitator and client, years of writing Morning Pages, the Tell it! page on FB where we are free to say anything without being coddled or advised in return), I’m surprised when communication isn’t embodied and pretty clear. Like a dork, I expect everybody to be like me and the people around me (ha, or like I imagine we are).
But how can I encourage it, I wonder? Do I keep on checking in, asking to hear more, validating responses when I hear those generalities? It seems like the writer is wanting to be heard when those rants are typed out. But I also want to know them more. What happened that had you say that, and how does it actually feel?
What does it feel like in your body?
What images are flashing through your mind?
What are the emotions like?
How do you feel about yourself?
What do you want?
What other thoughts are there?
What other feelings?
What do you really want to yell, specifically?
(Hey, this is starting to sound like one of my doodling classes . . . )
I feel fortunate to have practices that make room for all of this stuff to come out without negating or contradicting it, while also not adding further meaning on to it.
Maybe that’s why people are vague on Facebook — because it might be too heady to get into all of those details, and if we’re vague and general like that, maybe there’s more agreement/validation. “Yeah! People should text back and answer questions. That’s right!” It’s just not as interesting to me. Tell me more! It might feel better.
I was not sure about writing this because I don’t want to make my friends wrong. My experience when I see those posts is always wanting to know more. Or almost feeling shut out. I feel like there’s this barrier to intimacy, and I really like intimacy. I’m curious about my own contributions to the vague mindset — I know I am a good communicator in some spaces and horrible in others. I’m paying attention to all of this right now.
It’s my interest to keep on growing in this way, to continue to open to my own states and feelings such that I can bring them forth with the people around me as well and not ever feel like I have to hide out. A lofty goal, perhaps. But seems worthwhile.
And for the sake of transparency, I feel a little awkward writing this because I do feel some judgment. I want my friends to say what they mean and how they feel below the neck. Ah there. I said so and I didn’t explode. Huh.
Stop teasing me and let me in! There! I said that too!!!